PPCC students react to free textbooks for next school year

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Pikes Peak Community College is giving students relief for the upcoming school year by waiving all fees for textbooks.

It’s through a new partnership with Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) and Slingshot. With the help of leftover funds from COVID-19 relief aid, the partnership will make free textbooks available for all degree and certificate-seeking PPCC students.

“We decided to devote a portion of this funding to ensuring every student at Pike Peak has free books this year,” said PPCC President Dr. Lance Bolton.

It’s a weight lifted off the shoulders of students as they start next year with free books.

“From my experience, I used to go without eating, driving, insurance and housing and all of that just so I could buy books,” Neal Lonsky, PPCC student said.

Dr. Bolton said the average price for students to attend PPCC can be around $4,000 a year, not counting books. Those can range between 500 to $1,000, according to some current students.

“We have to buy so many of them each semester and sometimes we actually don’t even use them,” said Abigail Long, a PPCC student. “I know my classmates are always trying to figure out how to pay for those books and pay for classes at the same time, so a lot of them are taking student loans and a lot of them are searching through big huge books of scholarships.”

According to PPCC, 65% of students haven’t bought textbooks during the pandemic, simply because they couldn’t afford to.

“I think it will be good for a lot of students, especially students who may not know where the next meal is coming from or need to get their car repaired and stuff like that, they’ll have that extra money there,” Lonsky said.

The free textbook program will be valid for the 2021/22 school year and will start on August 30. This offer does not extend to concurrent high school students, most of whom get free textbooks paid by their school districts.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if other colleges did something similar with some of their funding,” Dr. Bolton said. “But right now, I think we are one of the first in the country to do something like this.”

For more information on Pikes Peak Community College or how to enroll, visit their website.

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