As college tuition costs continue to rise, paying for course materials and textbooks can be quite challenging for many college students. However, there are several alternative funding options and resources available that can help reduce or eliminate these expenses. In this article, we’ve found a few lesser-known options for textbook funding. We can’t promise all of them will work for you, and all but one are college-specific. Nonetheless, you can take them into consideration.
FundMyTextbooks: Crowdfunding Platform
FundMyTextbooks (FMT) is an emerging innovative crowdfunding platform. With FMT, students can create crowdfunding campaigns to share with friends, family, or social media followers and ask for donations. The best part is that donations are strictly for purchasing textbooks, instructional materials, and tools. To start using FMT, you need to sign up for a free account, create a campaign, write a description, and choose a category for your campaign. You can select the books from the FMT website and pick them up later at your college bookstore (if there’s a collaboration with FMT). Donors can choose from different donation ways, amounts, and payment methods. There’s a 5% transaction fee for a donor, and it’s all free for a student. While the website still seems to be in the process of development, and their Instagram page hasn’t been updated in a while, we encourage you to contact them directly for more information. The idea is great, and it might really be helping many students.
Other Online Crowdfunding Platforms
If FundMyTextbooks doesn’t work, consider creating a crowdfunding campaign on platforms like GoFundMe (and even Kickstarter or Indiegogo) to raise funds for your textbooks. These platforms allow you to create a personalized fundraising campaign where you can share your story and explain why you need the funds for books. You can raise funds for any educational purpose: tuition fees, housing, online courses, and any other essentials that may be too expensive for a student.
Clark University: Emergency Aid Fund
If you’re a student at Clark and get your textbooks from Clark University Campus Store, you can check the information regarding the Emergency Aid Fund. It provides financial assistance to students who are facing difficulties. The fund, overseen by the Division of Student Success, covers a wide range of necessities, including food, rent, medical expenses, and course materials. There are various funds and scholarships available, including the ones granted through Akademos. The course materials funds are awarded by a committee representative who decides on the amount and method of acquisition, either through Akademos or direct purchase.
San Diego State University: Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT)
At San Diego State University, you can apply for the aid of The SDSU Basic Needs Center, which “aims to connect students to resources that prevent or assist them through situations related to food insecurities, housing stability, or unforeseen financial crises that impact student success.” Their Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT) deals with various issues, including those related to the affordability of course materials. If you are experiencing financial, housing, food, or any other form of insecurity, this is the place to go for help. Once you let them know about your textbook situation and get an evaluation, they may refer you directly to the store or one of their partners through a direct referral.
UC Davis: Equitable Access Program
At the University of California, Davis, there are several ways to support students in need of course materials. First, you can apply for the Equitable Access program: “Equitable Access is a revolutionary program that provides every UC Davis undergraduate student access to their textbooks by the first day of class, all for $169 per quarter.” While the Equitable Access fees vary from year to year, the program has already provided over 4,000 grants totaling $700,000 to students in need in the 2022–23 academic year. Overall, the EA program is a break-even program, where surplus funds left after covering all compulsory expenses are used as the following year’s grants. The Student Accounting office manages the grant payment processing, and if you receive a grant and choose to opt out, the grant is reversed and then given to the next eligible student in line. UC Davis has another option for students looking for financial aid, including textbook funding—Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center, where you can also apply for assistance with textbook costs. Once you’re approved by Aggie Compass, the funds will be added to your account to cover the cost of the Equitable Access program.
Since we’re not entirely sure if FundMyTextbook is still up and running, we recommend checking the textbook financial aid options available at your school. We’re positive every college has something similar to the programs and grants highlighted in this article. Your school might have something exactly like the ones we’ve highlighted from Clark and UC Davis! If these options don’t work for you, you can always rely on good old services like BooksRun—with plenty of used textbooks at more than affordable prices.