Federal Textbook Requirement

Effective Fall 2010 the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires all institutions receiving federal financial aid to "publish," in time for registration, a list of all required and recommended books and other course materials for all classes offered at the institution. This includes all schools—undergraduate, graduate and professional. The items we must display are:

  • Book title, including edition
  • Book author
  • ISBN number
  • Retail price

This is an effort to make more transparent the cost of education, as indicated in the following statement from the HEOA:

PURPOSE AND INTENT—The purpose of this section is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. It is the intent of this section to encourage all of the involved parties, including faculty, students, administrators, institutions of higher education, bookstores, distributors, and publishers, to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students.

To comply with this new federal regulation the Office of the University Registrar, the SISS Office and OIT worked with the Duke Textbook Store to develop a strategy for collection of this information, with a goal of providing an integration between DukeHub and the book store's textbook system. In order to make the submission of this information as easy as possible we are providing a link from both the Faculty Center and the Department Center in DukeHub that allows faculty or departmental personnel to submit information to the book store. This is, however, just one way to submit this information to the Duke Textbook Store. Faculty and departmental reps are able to submit book lists as they have in the past, by completing the book store's forms and submitting them on-line, by fax or by mail.

Course material information will be made available to students via a link to the book store in the Schedule of Classes. They will also be able to access any course synopses that have been entered from the same schedule listings.

The School of Medicine and the School of Nursing use the Medical Center Bookstore, rather than the Duke Textbook Store. Faculty may use the methods described above and the information will be submitted to the Medical Center Bookstore.

Timing and Other Information Collection Issues

The primary challenge of this regulation is the timing of when this information is required. Conversations with faculty indicate that providing this information in the required time frame will, in some cases, prove quite difficult. Faculty have indicated that they often do not have time until the summer to plan in earnest for fall classes. While many will be able to provide information earlier, others, especially those planning new courses, will find this difficult. Fortunately, the law does allow posting of a "To Be Determined" message when book information is not yet available.

We have worked with faculty representatives to make the posting of this information as easy as possible. You will notice a link for posting course materials in your Faculty Center course listings. When you provide the information via this link the book store will review the information provided, filling in any information needed to make the listings complete, and then will "publish" that information on their site. Similarly, when you submit your book information in the traditional manner the book store will process that information so we can display the appropriate links for students to access that information. The book store hopes to be able to post this information within 3 to 5 days after receiving it from faculty, regardless of how it is submitted.

I'm putting together a new course and won't be able to determine the course materials until the summer. What should I do in terms of this new law?

  • The new law allows us to indicate "To Be Determined" in cases where this information is not yet available. If you don't know the books you'll be using you can enter "To Be Determined" in DukeHub, and then post the information as it becomes available.

Is DukeHub the only way I can submit this information to the Duke Textbook Store?

  • No, we have created a link from within DukeHub to make it easier to submit this information but you can also submit this information as you have in the past, by completing the Duke Textbook Store's form and faxing, mailing, e-mailing or submitting it in person to them.

Will the information I supply be posted immediately in the Schedule of Classes and the Duke Textbook Store site?

  • No, the Duke Textbook Store will review your submission, fill in any missing information and contact you or your designee to clarify any information, if needed. Under normal circumstances the book information will be posted within three to five working days after it is submitted to the bookstore. While the bookstore is working on this, the message "On Order, Check Back Soon" will be displayed.

I don't know the ISBN number or the price of the books? Do I have to look that up somewhere?

  • If you don't know that information the bookstore will supply that before publishing the information. As long as you know the name of the book and the author, the bookstore should be able to find the additional information. If they have trouble finding it or need other clarification they will contact you directly. The ISBN, by the way, can usually be found on the back cover of most books.

I don't use the Duke Textbook Store for ordering my course books. Do I have to use them now?

  • If you prefer using another book vendor for ordering course materials this new law doesn't change that in any way. You will, however, need to supply the book store with your course material lists so we can make it available to students in accordance with this new law. Should you wish to encourage students to purchase those materials elsewhere, you can add that information to the course materials section of the course synopsis.

I've never entered a Course Synopsis because I don't teach Arts and Sciences undergraduate course. Can I use this new synopsis feature for my courses?

  • Yes, now that the course synopsis is integrated within DukeHub any faculty can use this feature to provide information about their courses to students. This is optional, and a link to a synopsis will only appear when one has actually been published.

What is the penalty for non-compliance with this law?

  • This law does not include any specific penalty for non-compliance but does instruct the Secretary of Education to monitor compliance with it and also instructs the US General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct a compliance audit three years after the law becomes valid.
Help Documents

For more detailed information about this process please see the Help Documents.