Saskatchewan

U of R students' union tackling the high costs of textbooks with new program

University of Regina Students' Union is hoping to ease costs by supplying expensive textbooks at the library.

Textbooks that cost $100 or more will now be on reserve at the Dr. John Archer Library

Expensive textbooks are now available on reserve at the University of Regina's Dr. John Archer Library.

Back to school means empty pockets for many university students but the University of Regina Students' Union is hoping to ease costs by supplying expensive textbooks at the library.

"Every year students line up for the book store, they are shelling out between $500 to $1000 per semester," said Jermain McKenzie, president of the University of Regina Students' Union.

"I just thought that, given the fact that we are faced with increased tuition almost on a yearly basis for the last six years, we had to find a way to help students, especially those faced with financial hardship and to remove that burden."

The students' union teamed up with the Dr. John Archer Library to acquire one textbook from each class that costs more than $100. The pricey books will be on reserve for use by students starting this semester.

More than $45,000 has been raised from contributions from the students' union, the university library, the Deans' Council, First Nations University and the Graduate Students' Association for the textbook initiative.

We definitely want to make sure we are helping these students access university education which is the best opportunity for them uplift themselves and their families.- Jermain McKenzie, president of the University of Regina Students' Union

McKenzie says he has noticed students already taking advantage of the program.

He acknowledged that it may be a challenge if multiple students try to request the same book at the same time.

"You can only have the book for two hours at a time but if you're able to dedicate some time and plan reasonably well you will still be able access the book," said McKenzie.

He added that $5000 will be available to purchase additional copies of any textbooks that become high in demand. 

The new textbook initiative is just one way the University of Regina Students' Union plans on lowering the cost of education for its student body.

"Students are working longer these days. Some students have two or three part time jobs. The fact is tuition still keeps going up and with all the other costs of living like housing and other daily expenses it is really hard for a lot of students to manage," said McKenzie.

"We definitely want to make sure we are helping these students access university education which is the best opportunity for them uplift themselves and their families."

He says he eventually wants to speak to the provincial government about tuition costs.

With files from CBC's The Afternoon Edition

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