Manny Otiko, Inland Valley News
Students enrolled at California State University (CSU) and University of California schools (UC) and California Community Colleges (CCC) — are now eligible for free textbook rentals and more money for financial aid, among other benefits.
Californians displaced by the pandemic and students from underrepresented minority groups can also sign up for relevant training and work experience to get them connected to jobs and careers in different industries.
The perks are components of a broad $47.1 billion in education-related funding the state is providing to students at the college level. It includes more scholarships for both middle class and low-income students and pathways to CSU and UC admission for community college students.
About $115 million of that funding will support the program that is providing textbooks and other educational resources to students.
“The California Comeback Plan doubles down on our commitment to making college more affordable and accessible than ever before, boosting the state’s nation-leading recovery from the pandemic and driving our long-term economic prosperity,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month when he signed AB 132, a budget measure also called the “Postsecondary Education Trailer Bill.”
Education leaders in San Bernardino County are already offering a free textbook rental pilot program called Book+.
“My hope is that this textbook rental program will be the start of a new wave. Like when you go into a restaurant you expect the table to be clean. Textbooks should come standard with each college course. Textbooks are a basic need of our students as a system this is a priority that I hope we can tackle now on behalf of California’s nearly 2 million community college students,” said Joseph R. Williams, a member of the California Community College Board of Governors and an elected member of the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees.
Diana Z Rodriguez, who was appointed Chancellor of the San Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) earlier this year, sent a letter to faculty and staff. It was signed by her and six other administrators.
“For a limited time, Crafton Hills College and San Bernardino Valley College are providing all students free rental access to textbooks plus course materials during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters,” the educators wrote
“Our goal is to help students save money and focus on learning on day one without worrying about buying their required materials for class,” the letter continued. “With Books+, faculty members enjoy the academic freedom to choose the content provider, edition, and medium that best fits the class curriculum. You can start teaching on day one instead of waiting for students to acquire their materials. You can be reassured that everyone in the class will have the same materials, including edition and format, on day one, leveling the playing field so that you can begin instructing your chosen content right away instead of being forced to teach with “lowest common denominator” content.
Supporters of AB 132 say the legislation will make it easier for both high school students and community college students to enroll in the state’s higher education institutions and earn degrees.
Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.