UL students were shocked to learn that the sophomore-level accounting book would cost them $1,000.
Last week, student Maddy Meaux posted the following in the UL Book Swap Facebook group:
The post received a lot of outraged comments and a lot of shares on Facebook and other social media.
Today, the university issued a statement admitting that the price was set following discussions among the publisher, the university bookstore and the accounting department. The aim was to prevent students from purchasing an electronic version of the book; the department and the bookstore wanted students to buy a hard copy from the bookstore.
This weekend, the university responded via Twitter, with two statements:
According to the listing on the University Bookstore’s web page, the “working pages” for the course cost $59.75 and the textbook, new, costs $253.25. You can buy it used from Barnes and Noble for about $90. You can get an electronic version from Amazon for about $100.
Here’s today’s statement from Jaimie Hebert, the University’s provost:
“We want to make it very clear to our students and the public that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette makes every effort to ensure that the materials required for courses are affordable.
“We welcome the opportunity to clarify some confusion that resulted from the pricing of materials for Accounting 201 and 202.
“The materials – both a textbook and access codes for online supplementary materials – are available from the University’s bookstore for $313.
“The University, the bookstore and the publisher worked to set the price for the materials, which students could use for Accounting 201 and 202, which are offered consecutively in the fall and spring semesters.
“The publisher, after conversations with the Department of Accounting, set the online price at nearly $1,000 to discourage students from choosing to buy materials directly from its website. They believed it was best for the students to use a printed textbook since many of the materials in the book are needed for homework and classroom instruction.
“Students who chose not to purchase the book and access codes from the University bookstore discovered the price difference. We are not aware of any students who purchased the materials online; if they did so, they should contact the College of Business Administration, which will work with them to rectify the situation.
“But again, let me stress, this is a misunderstanding. The University wants students enrolled in the course to spend only $313, and I am grateful for the chance to encourage them to do so.”
UL junior Ann Clare Tavernit thought she would be able to use her accounting 201 textbook from last semester for this semester’s accounting 202 class.
“What happens is: you keep the old textbook, and you just go online to buy the code,” Tavernit said. “That way, you can buy the new ebook to take the quizzes and online work. I was just going to go online to buy the code and saw it was $999.99, and I was like, ‘This has to be a mistake.'”
She thought that price was the result of a glitch. After reaching out to her professors, she learned the price was right. She took her complaints to faculty and to Twitter.
The university later responded, saying that price is designed to encourage students to buy a hard copy, which is only $313 dollars. That cost covers both Accounting 201 and 202 classes and has access codes for online materials for the courses.
“I understand what their intentions were, but I wish they would’ve given us a cheaper option. It’s still not very doable for most students. I pay my own tuition, my own dues…”
She says she will continue using her older textbook while saving up to buy the new book, but she says the university is hurting students more than helping.
“For us in [Accounting] 202, we won’t be able to utilize it for two semesters,” Tavernit said. “It’s not going to be easy to resell.”