Fairmont State University looking for ways to help students, possibly becoming a digital campus

FAIRMONT, W. Va. (WDTV) - There's the quote: "Education is the foundation upon which we build our future" by Christine Gregoire.

However, with education also comes expenses.

For college students, that means tuition, supplies, housing, textbooks, and they can be quite expensive.

"Textbooks are like the number one out-of-pocket costs for students," said Dillon Bradley, Student Government President at Fairmont State.

According to the College Board, on average a student spends about $1,200 a year on books and supplies. A single book can even cost up to $200.

"That's added to tuition," said Bradley.

That's why Fairmont State University is looking for ways to help its students.

"We had to figure out some way to get the cost of textbooks down," said Richard Harvey, Dean at the School of Business at Fairmont State.

Their proposal: to just have e-books.

"For $200 a year subscription to all Cengage textbooks, so we're talking about going from over $2,000 a year for a business student to $200 a year," he said.

"There are a lot of publishing companies that offer this technology," said Dr. Mirta Martin, President of Fairmont State.

They say they're looking into the company Cengage, which also offers hard book rentals at approximately $8 and students would be able to print the textbooks as well.

School officials also say they're looking into other publishing companies that offer e-books and some students are on board.

"Personally I would love it. You can rent it, get a hard copy and it's going to significantly lower the out of pocket price," said Bradley.

Others don't feel the same.

"[Cengage] do have five different publishers but I looked all of the books I'm using in all of my classes and none of my books were on there," said student Emily Markham.

She says she's also worried how this will affect her vision, access to the books needed for her major, and other things.

According to school officials, they're still exploring their options.

Right now, the School of Nursing is 100% digital and the School of Business will fully implement e-books this Fall.

If they decide to go forward with this decision, the school would be the first in the state to be fully digital.

"At Fairmont State University, we're committed to find ways to reduce the cost of going to school for our students, to give them a better life, to put knowledge in their hands," said Martin.