Skip to content →


Frequently Asked Questions about Textbook Affordability at ISU

Submit your questions using this online form.

Do I need the required textbooks and course materials to be successful as a student?

Textbooks are an important resource to student success in courses. Course completion and student performance decreases when students don’t have access to course materials at the beginning of the semester.

How do I save money on textbooks?

  • Shop around and compare prices from local and online vendors
  • Compare the cost of renting vs. buying
  • Explore available price matching options
  • Note whether a textbook is listed as “required” or “recommended”
  • Purchase the correct version of the textbook
  • Note any refund or buyback policies – some vendors are more generous than others
  • See if there is a copy available to borrow or on course reserve at Milner Library

Where do I find out what textbooks are assigned to my class?

You can search for your class on Coursefinder, which lists course details including any textbooks adopted by the instructor. You can also search for your textbooks on the website for Barnes and Noble College.

When should I buy my textbooks?

Students are best set up for success when they purchase textbooks before a course begins.

Is there a dedicated fund for helping ISU students with textbooks?

There is not a dedicated fund for this, but students are encouraged to speak with financial aid counselors who can look at a student’s complete profile and determine what kind of support a student is eligible for.

What is an access code and how is it different from a textbook?

Many publishers offer access codes, which provide digital access to course materials like lecture slides, tests, quizzes, study guides, and sometimes the textbook itself. The materials are made available through a publisher’s online platform. Access codes are typically available as a temporary subscription/rental rather than a purchase, so they cannot be sold at the end of the semester. Access codes are specific to an individual student and are not designed to be shared.

Is an access code returnable/refundable?

Unfortunately, no, access codes cannot be returned for a refund. This is an important consideration for faculty considering adopting an access code. Before purchasing an access code, students should ensure that it is required for the course and that the correct access code is being purchased.

Does the library have my textbook?

Maybe. Milner Library does not purchase textbooks by default, but it is possible a copy of your textbook is on course reserve, in the library’s circulating collection, or borrowable from another I-Share library. Check the library’s online catalog or ask a librarian for help.

Can I use financial aid to buy my textbooks?

It depends. Textbooks are part of your calculated total cost of attendance. Grants, loans, scholarships, and other types of aid all have different guidelines or restrictions. Please contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions about your award.

How do faculty decide if a textbook is required, recommended, or optional?

Faculty should consider carefully if a textbook is truly required for student success in their class and make a decision accordingly.

What is the deadline for faculty to submit textbook requests? Can those textbook selections be changed after they’ve been submitted?

Faculty should adopt textbooks in accordance with deadlines set by the Office of the University Registrar. Faculty should ensure these are the books they want to use. Because some students purchase textbooks early–such as during Preview–and some books and access codes are not refundable, faculty may not change a required textbook once the registration period has started for that semester.

Skip to toolbar