Semester after semester, the college classes requiring textbooks can amount to a very costly bill for young students who are often strapped for cash. Luckily, for the undergraduate students coming into Winston-Salem State University this fall, textbooks will be one less thing to pay for! Get the full story on how WSSU is taking care of the tab in the Winston-Salem Journal article by John Newsom below.

Credit: iStock/Fizkes

Undergraduates at Winston-Salem State University won’t have to pay for textbooks this fall.

The university announced Monday that it will cover the cost of all printed and digital textbooks and other course materials for undergraduates for the upcoming fall semester.

That’s an average savings of roughly $650 per student, according to the university’s posted cost of attendance, though textbook prices can vary widely by class and academic major.

The university also said it will give all graduate students a $500 credit to use towards books.

Chancellor Elwood Robinson in a statement called Monday’s announcement “a game-changer” because it covers a significant college expense.

A university spokeswoman said Winston-Salem State might extend the free-textbook offer to the spring semester.

WSSU will cover the expense with a portion of its federal COVID-19 relief funding. The university has received $100 million since early 2020 from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

The federal government created the fund to help the nation’s colleges and universities weather the pandemic. Institutions have used the money to cover lost revenues, buy personal protection equipment, pay for COVID-19 testing and other pandemic-related expenses and cover the cost of summer classes. The federal government also required institutions to pay out some of the money directly to college students as financial aid.

Roughly a quarter of Winston-Salem State’s HEERF funding went directly to students. The university can decide how to spend the rest with some conditions.

Winston-Salem State is the second area university to announce that it will buy textbooks for its students. N.C. A&T in June said it will cover the cost of instructional materials for its undergraduates for the next two years. It’s also using federal COVID-19 relief funding.

In a related announcement Monday, Winston-Salem State said students will receive all course materials on or before the first day of classes. This new program, called First Day Complete, is a service offered through Barnes & Noble College, which operates the university’s bookstore.

WSSU’s fall semester classes start Aug. 23.