Teri Wilson
August 29, 2015 2:38 pm

The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) announced last week that they plan to do away with textbooks for undergraduate students starting this fall (as in, right now!), and they’re doing it for the very best reason possible—to save students money. For anyone who has emptied out their savings account purchasing several piles of books for a single semester, you probably understand how big of a deal this is.

On Thursday, Vice Provost of UMUC Kara Van Dam said students will use online reading materials and videos rather than books. And these online resources will be absolutely free. Yep, you heard us: FREE. She predicts the change will save students thousands of dollars, and she’s right. The College Board estimates the annual cost of textbooks and related supplies for college students falls somewhere between $1225-$1330. (Ouch.) When you multiply that amount by four, five or sometimes six years, it really adds up. If you’re planning on also going to graduate school, too? Let’s just say you’ll need a few extra bookshelves.

As much as we at HelloGiggles love books and the written word, we’re super pumped about the idea of a textbook-free college experience. Especially since many of us don’t end up using those expensive textbooks after our classes are over, and trying to resell those books usually doesn’t prove lucrative. Plus, college tuition itself is pretty expensive. The average college student graduates with close to $30,000 of student loan debt. (Again, ouch.)

UMUC is home to 84,000 students, most of whom have prior college-level credit. (Which of course means they may already be carrying student loan debt.) The school also plans to eliminate textbooks for graduate students beginning in fall of 2016, so if you’re thinking about getting your master’s (and planning on applying to UMUC), you’re in luck!

So, mad props to this great institution of higher learning for caring enough about their student body to make this transition. Here’s hoping more colleges follow their example! Otherwise, we might all have to move to Maryland, and it might get a little crowded.

(Image via iStock)

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