Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2014

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Regents briefs

Regents told of high cost of books

The cost of textbooks for university students is averaging $898 per year, or a 238 percent increase over the last 20 years, the Board of Regents was told Thursday.

The Academic, Research and Student Affairs Committee directed a staff study Thursday to find ways that the costs can be held down.

Interim Vice Chancellor Christine Chairsell of the University and Community College System of Nevada said 64.8 percent of the purchase price goes back to the publisher and 11.6 percent to the author. The bookstores end up making 4.5 percent profit.

If books are being used the next year, the bookstore will buy the book back at 50 percent of cost and then resell it for 75 percent of cost.

Regents suggested there be a Web site for the students to sell their used books.

Henry Schuck, student body president at UNLV, said one problem is that professors often don't reveal if they are going to use the same textbook for the next year, which affects how much students can get for reselling a used book.

Schuck said there is also a "publisher trick" that bundles the book with a CD-ROM and a student guide. The bundled package may cost $130, whereas the book alone goes for $60. He said 65 percent of the added items are never or rarely used.

More credits urged for Millennium aid

Regents have approved a plan to increase the number of high school credits to qualify for the Millennium Scholarships starting in 2010.

Associate Vice Chancellor Christine Chairsell said the credits required would rise from 22 to 24 in high school. The timing would allow planning to start for students now in the seventh grade.

The approved plan calls for increasing the science from two years to three years and the sequence in mathematics be Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra II. The regents are recommending that students take a fourth year of mathematics.

Chairsell said that nationally students entering college are not up to date on math because they don't take it in their senior year.

She said she hoped all the students, not just those who are going on to college, take these courses. She said these courses are needed in many trades.

Fire academy loses $950,000

The Fire Science Academy in Carlin, operated by the University of Nevada, Reno, lost $950,000 last year, university regents were told Thursday.

Denise Baclawski, executive director of the academy, told the regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada that the loss was lower than the $2.3 million loss of the previous year.

The fire academy has been a money loser and was closed for a time. It is now nearly $9 million in debt.

Baclawski said, however, the academy has a marketing plan to break even by 2008. She said the academy trains 2,000 fire officials a year and hopes to raise that to 6,500 students.

She said a federal grant acquired by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., allows for a training program of 720 firefighters nationwide. She said there are already 455 applicants.

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