An HEOA Overview

The regulations for HEOA went into effect on July 1, 2010

The United States government passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 in response to increasing costs associated with higher education, particularly textbooks and supplemental course materials. The regulations laid out in HEOA went into full effect on July 1, 2010.

Signed into law in August of 2008, HEOA is an extension of the original Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, and requires every higher learning institution in the United States that receives federal funding to disclose accurate course material information, including ISBNs and retail prices. Transparency is a primary goal of HEOA because it allows your students to search for the most affordable textbook options.

Is your institution in compliance? The regulations for HEOA went into effect on July 1, 2010.

In subsequent paragraphs, you'll find Section 112 of HEOA, “Textbook Information,” and exactly what it means for your institution's compliancy. You'll also learn about the tools MBS Direct provides institutions of all sizes throughout the country to ensure compliancy. When you partner with MBS Direct for your textbook needs, fulfilling HEOA requirements takes minimal effort on your behalf. Please use the navigation to view a specific section.

Please keep in mind the paragraphs below do not reflect a legal opinion and should not be understood as such.

a) Purpose and intent

The purpose of this section is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. It is the intent of this section to encourage all of the involved parties, including faculty, students, administrators, institutions of higher education, bookstores, distributors, and publishers, to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students.

MBS Direct's interpretation

This section was the impetus for the entire legislation. We understand that textbooks have become a much larger portion of college students' budgets, and the students at your institution are no exception. Just like the United States government, MBS Direct feels that education is the most fundamental step for a student's successful future. And since we know that textbooks and other course materials are a crucial part of that success, we are more than happy to offer numerous cost-saving programs and products to ease the burden of students' educational expenses.

How we help you get compliant

MBS Direct has many programs to reduce the overall and bottom line costs associated with textbooks in order to address this section of HEOA:

  • One of the largest inventories of used books, available at a fraction of the new book cost
  • A groundbreaking Guaranteed Buyback program designed to help lower the overall cost of owning textbooks for the entire academic term
  • A Customer Loyalty program that provides returning customers more money when they sell back their textbooks, lowering the total cost to own them
  • Thousands of eBooks and digital titles that cost less than new print books./li>
  • MBS Direct's Course Director which grants faculty members academic freedom to choose desired course materials, contains enrollment data, pricing information, and several other features to keep costs as low as possible

b) Definitions

MBS Direct's interpretation

Each of the definitions listed above are the industry standard in terms of textbooks and supplemental course materials. MBS Direct uses these terms in daily business communication with our partner schools. If you have any questions or need further explanation of one or more of these definitions, please contact us.

c) Publisher requirements

MBS Direct's interpretation

Transparency is the key theme here, and this section outlines the type of transparency publishers are required to provide to your institution. Each publisher is held accountable for price increases, unnecessary bundling of materials, descriptions of edition revisions, and supplemental course material availability. By providing this information, the publisher's pricing should be driven down because faculty can read descriptions of edition changes and make informed decisions about whether a bundle is actually necessary for their course.

How we help you get compliant

Although this section is written primarily for publishers, MBS Direct has a number of resources that will help you easily access any publisher information about current and previous editions.

Course Director is an online course adoptions tool that allows you and your staff to research more than 1 million titles for information about previous editions, supplemental material bundling and the overall cost of a given textbook.

Your faculty members can access Faculty Center Network, an online textbook research tool, where they can:

  • Read a summary of the textbook
  • View the table of contents
  • Read a sample chapter
  • Look at the preface (when/if applicable)
  • Link to the publisher's website
  • Review available supplemental course materials
  • Read book reviews from respected critics
  • Access links to request a free desk copy for faculty review
  • Search through thousands of academically-relevant eBook titles at a cheaper cost than their print counterparts

d) Provision of ISBN College Textbook Information in Course Schedules

To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall--

MBS Direct's interpretation

Simply stated, this requirement of HEOA will require your institution to have course schedules and required materials for the courses available for purchase electronically, including course material information such as ISBNs and retail prices, so the student can understand the initial cost of textbooks and course materials. If you provide MBS Direct with a booklist, we will display this information for you upon request.

This portion of HEOA will require your institution to have course schedules and required materials for courses available for purchase electronically. This includes course material information such as ISBNs and retail prices so the student can understand the initial cost of textbooks and course materials. If you provide MBS Direct with a booklist, we will display this information for you upon request.

How we help you get compliant

Some of the most challenging requirements for many higher education institutions can be found in this section. MBS Direct helps you meet these requirements by…

  • Ensuring your course schedules and associated required course materials are easily available through our Online Bookstore. Course-driven ordering includes information about book condition, book availability, retail price, author, title, publisher, copyright date, edition number, and any supplemental materials that might be bundled. If you provide MBS Direct with a booklist, we will display ISBN information for you upon request.
  • Allowing students to easily access their course material information before and at the time of registration if your institution implements Shop by Schedule ordering. Students just click a button within your course management system and are taken directly to their course list with tie required course materials.

e) Availability of Information for College Bookstores

An institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall make available to a college bookstore that is operated by, or in a contractual relationship or otherwise affiliated with, the institution, as soon as is practicable upon the request of such college bookstore, the most accurate information available regarding--

MBS Direct's interpretation

This section ensures clear communications between your institution and your bookstore regarding course scheduling and associated course material information. This is crucial for your bookstore in order to accurately predict the amount of course materials you need to acquire for distribution. Doing so will help reduce overhead costs and drive down prices.

How we help you get compliant

Once again, MBS Direct has you covered in this section. Your Account Manager will ask for the necessary information well ahead of time in order to organize the pieces of your online bookstore.

As previously mentioned, Course Director will assist you with submitting titles for adoption, enrollment data, and several other facets needed to fulfill HEOA requirements. Additionally, Course Director has pricing information for more than 1 million titles to assist with clear communications.

f) Additional Information

An institution disclosing the information required by subsection (d) is encouraged to disseminate to students information regarding--

MBS Direct's interpretation

This section isn't necessarily required, but it is highly recommended. In summary, it strongly advocates that you disseminate information about any available guaranteed buyback programs, alternative content delivery programs, and other cost-saving strategies. This will help students stay informed and aware of the best deal, and will allow them to understand what your institution and MBS Direct are doing in order to lower prices.

How we help you get compliant

MBS Direct provides your institution with print and electronic marketing and communications materials to educate your students about any available cost-savings offerings, including:

  • A Guaranteed Buyback program that will show students the exact amount they will receive at the end of the term (up to 45 percent off the purchase price of a new textbook) at the time of purchase
  • The largest library of eBooks available in education, including more than 450,000 digital titles
  • The nation's largest selection of used textbooks
  • A Customer Loyalty program to provide more money at buyback when they purchase and sell back textbooks through MBS Direct

g) GAO Report

Not later than July 1, 2013, the Comptroller General of the United States shall report to the authorizing committees on the implementation of this section by institutions of higher education, college bookstores, and publishers. The report shall particularly examine--

Rule of Construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede the institutional autonomy or academic freedom of instructors involved in the selection of college textbooks, supplemental materials, and other classroom materials.

No Regulatory Authority

The Secretary shall not promulgate regulations with respect to this section.'

MBS Direct's interpretation

This portion of HEOA holds the governing body accountable for examining pertinent information about textbooks and other course materials. This is done to ensure the academic freedom of faculty or students is not interfered with. Simply put, this will either prove or disprove HEOA's effectiveness towards lowering the prices of course materials. It is MBS Direct's hope that any costs associated with textbooks will be kept as low as possible.