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The Lookout | September 22, 2019

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Trustees get input on book vouchers

Trustees get input on book vouchers
The Lookout

Aaron Emerson
News Editor

LCC students, faculty and community members took advantage of the Board of Trustees’ public input session Feb. 22 to criticize the college’s book voucher program.

The meeting included six people who voiced support for Gibson’s University Bookstore in response to the store’s reported lawsuit against LCC.

Gibson’s, located on Shiawassee Street across from LCC’s main campus, is allegedly suing LCC for its federal aid book voucher program. The program gives LCC federal aid students a $600 book advance, but only through MBS Textbook Exchange Inc., an online book store.

Paul Jurczak, a philosophy professor at LCC, was among those who spoke at the meeting. He said Gibson’s has been carrying a textbook for his students for several years that is currently out of print. However, MBS has refused to carry the book, causing him to use a new book for his class.

“They (MBS) refused to order them, which means we had to go to new textbooks, which are more expensive and may not serve students’ best interests,” Jurczak said.

LCC student Mary Cooper told the board she refuses to use the voucher program.

“MBS is not cost effective to college students like myself that currently attend here,” Cooper said. “It is actually more expensive for me to order my books through MBS than it is to go through Gibson’s, Amazon, eBay, even Barnes & Noble.”

Though students can’t use the voucher program with other providers, LCC Chief Financial Officer Don Wilske recently told the Lansing State Journal that financial aid students get another $250 advance that can be used for books elsewhere.

The board didn’t publicly address this issue at the meeting, but met in a closed session to discuss the suit. A tentative pre-trial court date for the suit is set for Nov. 3.

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