Western Sydney University makes textbooks free for new undergraduate students in 2017
Committing to study at university is a big financial decision for students and their families. To help with the cost of study, Western Sydney University is giving all new students free digital textbooks, in one of the world's largest rollouts of its kind.
More than 10,000 students commencing their undergraduate studies next year will be given free digital textbooks worth up to $800.
Western Sydney University's Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover, says the groundbreaking initiative is in direct response to student feedback. This revealed that the cost of expensive textbooks was one of the key challenges to starting university.
"We put our students at the heart of everything we do here at Western Sydney University. Our students told us that purchasing the textbooks they needed was one of the biggest financial hurdles to studying, so we wanted to help in a practical way," says Professor Glover.
"With the average textbook retailing at $100 and often significantly more, our digital textbook program will reduce the financial burden for our new students."
An additional benefit of these digital texts is that they can be accessed from anywhere – on campus, at home, or from any other location – and can be used on any device.
They are also fully searchable, and feature the ability to highlight and mark notes on-screen. Students with disabilities will be able access the books via screen readers and other support tools.
Professor Glover says the new digital textbook program replaces Western Sydney University's highly successful iPad and device rollout, which provided over 50,000 students with devices since 2013.
"Our textbook initiative is the next phase in an extensive student-centred program that provides the highest quality educational experience for our students. The digital text initiative complements our technology-rich learning environments and innovative approaches to teaching," he says.
"It's just another way in which Western Sydney University is strengthening our reputation as one of the most innovative and progressive universities – one that invests in the success of its students."
Prospective students can visit www.westernsydney.edu.au/textbooks for more information about the digital textbook program.
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