What is the Higher Education Opportunity Act?

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) contains numerous provisions with which US institutions of higher education must comply in order to eligible for Title IV funding (student financial aid).  This act has a number of provisions with which Valdosta State University must comply.  You can read more fully about HEOA at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html.

What is the HEOA’s textbook provision?

Valdosta State University must ensure its compliance with the HEOA textbook provision.  Section 133 of the HEOA states the following:


(a)     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.

The portion of Section 133 that most affects college faculty is the following:

To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall—
(1) disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes, except that—

(A) if the International Standard Book Number is not available for such college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall include in the Internet course schedule the author, title, publisher, and copyright date for such college textbook or supplemental material; and
(B) if the institution determines that the disclosure of the information described in this subsection is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall so indicate by placing the designation ‘To Be Determined’ in lieu of the information required under this subsection; and

(2) if applicable, include on the institution’s written course schedule a notice that textbook information is available on the institution’s Internet course schedule, and the Internet address for such schedule.

In other words, by the time registration opens for students, they should be able to view not only the courses available but the textbooks (or other supplemental materials) that will be required for the course.  You can read the full list of provisions at http://content.efollett.com/HEOA/library/HEOATextbookProvision.pdf.

What process has VSU developed to ensure compliance with this provision?

  1. All faculty must provide textbook information for the classes they are scheduled to teach by the last working day in February for Fall term and October 1 for Spring and Summer terms.
  2. Departments and faculty will enter textbook and material information through the “Follet Discover” link in BlazeVIEW.
  3. For courses where no current faculty member is listed, the department head should list “TBA”.