KISSIMMEE — Gov. Rick Scott today announced a plan to eliminate sales taxes on textbook sales for college students, a measure that the governor said would save a full-time student about $170 over the course of a year.
The governor announced his proposal at Valencia College’s Osceola Campus. While there, he also announced a plan to expand Bright Futures to cover tuition during summer sessions.
Sharing the podium with Gov. Scott was Valencia student Christian Sanchez, 17, who is a member of the Osceola Campus student government association and one of the student leaders working to eliminate sales taxes on textbooks.
Sanchez is passionate about the issue because he sees so many of his fellow students worry about the high cost of textbooks.
“I have many close friends and relatives who have trouble paying for textbooks,” Christian said. “My sister, for instance, is struggling a lot. She’s a single mother and she’s going back to school but she’s struggling with the cost of her textbooks. That really inspired me to help with this initiative.”
For the past two years, Valencia’s faculty and staff have been working to cut the cost of textbooks for students through a variety of strategies. In 2013, the faculty at Valencia’s Osceola Campus saved the campus’s students $124,000 on books and instructional materials by switching to lower-cost textbooks, including using cheaper textbooks published by faculty members, e-books, rental books or older, used textbooks that still offer sound information. The math faculty also adopted free software to generate practice problems instead of relying on a book for practice problems.
In addition, in Oct. 2014, the college began publishing the cost of textbooks on its website, so that students can see the cost of textbooks required for a class when they are considering what classes to sign up for.