Institutions across Wisconsin are working to provide affordable digital content to all students in the state. An “e-ffordability summit” hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Stout brought together representatives from high schools, technical colleges, and UW four year campuses like Eau Claire. Fox 25/48’s Jessica Bringe has the story.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout is starting a statewide discussion on textbooks, saying they are often not considered when looking at college affordability. 

“Our students only spend 400 dollars a year but the national average is more in the vicinity of 1,200 a year so we’re saving our students a significant amount of money though our textbook rental program.”

Through an “e-ffordability summit” UW-Stout says 22 institutions are learning how the university set up an inexpensive print textbook rental system. 

“Pretty much our tuition every semester is the same amount as other schools I’ve looked at so i think it’s pretty affordable rather than paying thousands of dollars every semester for textbooks right out of your pocket. I couldn’t afford to do that every semester. Now that it has expanded to include a number of digital resources, it provides more tools for the faculty, it provides greater opportunities for the students, and there are opportunities for us to reduce costs when using those resources.”

In 2002, UW-Stout started its laptop program, providing a laptop to all incoming freshman and with 50 percent of UW-Stout’s textbooks being digital the university says it wants to continue to provide access to comprehensive digital programming.

Librarians, administrators, and college book store representative say they will now take the information and look at tailoring similar programs to fit their educational institutions.

“I’d like to go back and start the same projects at UW-Eau Claire, make connections with people in the college book store and in technology services. All to further affordability for students for college.”

Jessica Bringe, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.