2004-2005 Academic Year


Student Scholarship, Fellowship, and Financial Aid Committee


1.         Membership (includes ex-officio members)

Regular Members

Chal Benson (Vice Chair)         Mathematics

Cynthia Bickley-Green              Art and Design

Brent Henze                             English

Anthony Overton                      Biology

David Ozag                              Education

John Reisch (Chair)                  Business

Karen Sullivan                          Allied Health Sciences

(secretary is a revolving position on this committee)


Ex-Officio Members with vote

Connie Ciesielski                      Faculty Senate – Technology and Computer Science

Lisa Clough                              Rep. of Chair of the Faculty – Biology

Shelly Myers                            Rep. of VC for Academic Affairs – Academic Advising

Rose Mary Stelma                    Rep. of Chancellor – Financial Aid Services


2          Meeting Dates (include members present*)

*and members who contributed to committee action, but were not at the meeting

September 27, 2004:

Chal Benson, Lisa Clough, Brent Henze, David Ozag, John Reisch, Maggie O’Neill (SGA representative); guest included Catherine Rigsby (Chair of Faculty Senate) and James McKernan (Education)


October 25, 2004:

Chal Benson, Lisa Clough, Brent Henze, Maryann Jenkins (for Rose Mary Stelma), Anthony Overton, David Ozag, John Reisch


November 22, 2004:



January 24, 2005:

Chal Benson, Lisa Clough, Brent Henze, Maryann Jenkins (for Rose Mary Stelma), John Reisch, Anthony Overton; guest: Kathy Bernstein (Admissions)


February 28, 2005:


March 28, 2005:

Chal Benson, Lisa Clough, Brent Henze, Maryann Jenkins (for Rose Mary Stelma), John Reisch


April 25, 2005:

Chal Benson, Lisa Clough, Brent Henze, Maryann Jenkins (for Rose Mary Stelma), John Reisch, Anthony Overton*, David Ozag*. Rose Mary Stelma*, Karen Sullivan*, Shelly Myers*


3.         Subcommittees established during the year (include progress and/or completion of work)



4.         Accomplishments during the year, especially as addressed through committee goals.  Please include recommendations made to any University agency other than the Faculty Senate that will be noted under #5.

The committee reviewed potential mechanisms for alleviating the high costs of textbooks.  The committee investigated the possibility of a textbook rental program but did not believe such a program would be cost beneficial.  The committee brainstormed ideas for reducing textbooks and investigated how other universities are dealing with the rising textbook costs.  A consortium of several state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) developed a detailed report with empirical evidence regarding the high costs of textbooks.  The committee used the report and ideas generated by committee members to draft a report entitled “Report on Reducing Textbook Prices to Students” (see Attachment 1 for a draft of the report).  The report should be finalized by the committee in 2005-2006.  Upon completion, the report should be forward to Faculty Senate along with a resolution for adoption of the recommendations made by the committee.


The committee invited Karen Bernstein to discuss admissions policies and the selection of ECU Scholars on Scholarship Weekend.  David Ozag, John Reisch, Rose Mary Stelma, and Karen Sullivan participated in the Scholarship Weekend activities on March 18 and 19, 2005.  This included attending a social to meet scholarship finalists and their parents on Friday evening and interviewing/selecting candidates for scholarships on Saturday.


The committee chose recipients of the Lillian Jenkins, Probey, Andrews, Eastern North Carolina Foundation, and Chevrolet scholarships.


5.         Reports to the faculty Senate (include dates and resolution numbers)


6.         Business carried over the next year (list priority order):

a.   Revisit draft of “Report on Reducing Textbook Prices to Students” (see Attachment 1).  Upon completion, forward report o Faculty Senate and present a resolution for adoption of the recommendations.

b.   Continue to participate in Scholarship Weekend and to investigate how to help attract merit scholars to ECU.

c.   Continue to monitor the success of the centennial campaign in collecting monies that can be used to aid students in poverty (see RESOLUTION to Aid Students in Poverty, #03-61, which was approved by the Faculty Senate on December 9, 2003; the resolution requests $5 million of the centennial capital campaign be held in endowment, the earnings from which will be used as grant aid for the benefit of economically disadvantaged students admitted to and enrolled at ECU).


7.         Evaluation of committee (include anything that hindered or assisted the committee’s work during the year)

a.   Charge:  Appears appropriate

b.   Personnel:  Committee worked well together

c.   Attendence:  Time conflicts prevented some members from attending meetings.

d.   Responsibilities:  Committee’s charge is to review the policies or procedures for scholarship awards and financial aid to help develop such policies and assist in attraction of qualified students.

e.   Activities:  Participated in Scholarship Weekend activities, selected scholarship recipients for various university scholarships, and drafted a report for assist students in reducing textbook costs.  The decision to review textbook process was discussed by the committee based on feedback from students and directly impacts students’ financial needs.


8.         Suggestion(s) to the Chair of the faculty and/or Faculty Senate for improving the effectiveness of the committee.

a.   In evaluating scholarships at the end of the academic year, please sure each committee members rank all candidates for each scholarship to assist in evaluating the candidates.  The chair of the committee can assist in this endeavor by sending an Excel spreadsheet for each scholarship with a listing of each candidate.  Committee members could then rank the candidates on the spreadsheets and forward their input to the committee for final evaluation.



Signed:    John Reisch, Chairperson


Attachment 1


Student Scholarship, Fellowship, and Financial Aid Committee


Report on Reducing Textbook Prices to Students

(Draft – April 2005)


Members of the Student Scholarship, Fellowships, and Financial Aid Committee (SSFFAC) heard grievances from students regarding textbook prices.  The committee decided to investigate these complaints and the findings are noted below.


Nationally, the price of college textbooks averages nearly $900 per year which represents nearly 20% of tuition and fees[1].  A study released in February 2005 by the State Public Interest Research Group[2] shows that college textbook prices are rising at more than four times the rate of inflation and have risen by 62% since 1994; the cost of similarly priced general books has risen only 19% during the same time period.  In addition, the textbook prices charged to American students is often significantly higher than for the same textbook sold elsewhere (the average textbook costs 20% more in the US than in the UK (SPIRG , 2005)).


Because textbook prices are a material cost of students’ educations, we examined means by which textbook prices can be reduced.  Our objective is not to mandate change; rather, it is to inform faculty members of ways they may be able to reduce students’ textbook costs.


Our recommendations for reducing textbook costs are based on committee discussion and information gathered from various documents, including the SPIRG report noted above, “Rip-off 101: How The Current Practices Of The Textbook Industry Drive Up The Cost Of College Textbooks” and Acumen (August 2004).  The recommendations are presented only as options to be considered in textbook selection and are in no way meant to infringe on a faculty member’s right to select a textbook of his or her choosing.


(1)   Notify students as soon as possible about a change in textbooks

Allows students time to shop around for best price of the new textbook (including on-line purchases) as well as selling price for the old edition.


(2)   Request cost quotes from publisher representatives for textbooks, including:

--the elimination of bundled material (if it is not used)

--use of non-color pages

--use of soft-cover texts rather than hard-cover



(3)  Encourage online bookswaps whereby students can set their own purchase and selling prices.  In conjunction with this report, we encourage the SGA to consider joining and using the non-profit, student-run, online bookswap, www.campusbookswap.com.  Faculty are asked to note that student bookswaps and other efforts to find used or discounted textbooks are dependent upon early notice of textbook choices by faculty.  Early adoption gives students additional time to swap or find used books, and it also increases the likelihood that used copies fo textbooks will be available at the bookstores.


The committee considered, but ultimately decided not to recommend, a textbook rental program whereby students rent textbooks and pay a fee to be part of the program.  Several institutions in the UNC system have adopted textbook rental programs to help reduce costs (e.g., WCU and ECSU).  While rental programs may reduce textbook costs, the committee did not believe a textbook rental program at ECU is a viable option.  First, the demand for a textbook rental program would need to be derived from student government and we have no evidence of such a demand (per comments from the committee’s student representative, Maggie O’Neal).  Second, the program could have a negative impact on faculty textbook selection.  Textbook selection is likely “locked” for a period of time of up to three years; thus, faculty members could not change textbooks as desired.  The impact would be particularly detrimental for very dynamic subjects such as computer science and industrial technology.  Third, a rental program could strain the University’s relationship with the Dowdy Bookstore, which supplies $365,000[3] in annual student scholarships; the program could also be in violation of ECU’s contractual agreement with the bookstore).  Fourth, anecdotal evidence from faculty at Western Carolina indicated that the program does not work very well.  Students have trouble getting the textbooks (e.g., textbooks can stock-out), and as noted above, the program inhibits changes in textbook selection.


[1] $800 per year according to the Dowdy Bookstore but that excludes on-line purchases.  Textbook costs represent X% and x % of tuition and fees at ECU using textbook costs of $800 and $900, repectively.


[2] The complete report, entitled “Rip-off 101: How The Current Practices Of The Textbook Industry Drive Up The Cost Of College Textbooks,” can be found at www.pirg.org/highered.

[3] Per ECU News Bureau, April 14, 2005.