OBERLIN, Ohio, April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- College students are increasingly taking advantage of the lower-cost option of renting their course materials, with 40.4% of students renting at least one course material during the Fall 2014 term, according to the newly released Student Watch: Attitudes and Behaviors toward Course Materials, Fall 2014. This represents a 100% increase over fall 2011 figures.
Not only are more students opting to rent their materials, the number of course materials being rented is also increasing. Rentals represented 32% of all the materials that were paid for during the fall 2014 term, compared with 19% a year ago.
The campus store is the retailer of choice for textbook rentals, with 49% of students who rented choosing the bookstore for their transaction.
"While a number of online resources have come on strong in textbook rentals over the past few years, the campus store has been able to remain the retailer of choice," said Elizabeth Riddle, director of OnCampus Research. "Through clear rental policies, format availability and price transparency, we believe college stores can maintain leadership in this category."
The twice-yearly Student Watch™ survey, conducted by OnCampus Research, the research arm of indiCo LLC, a division of the National Association of College Stores, explores how college students access and use their course materials, the many factors that influence their purchasing decisions, and their thoughts on available options.
Digital Materials on the Rise
The Fall 2014 report also revealed that, while students still prefer printed materials (31.5%), use of digital content is increasing, with 33.7% indicating a preference for either digital or print/digital bundles, and another 24% saying it depends on the class. Of students preferring digital, 59% cite the convenience of taking them places as the primary benefit. Students also noted lower cost (48%), easier to learn and study from (38%), and environmentally friendly (36%) as advantages to the digital format.
Students who prefer digital spend an average of $43 less on purchased course materials.
The majority of students agree that digital course materials improve their learning and understanding of course topics.
Compared to students who are uncomfortable with digital /online course materials, students who are comfortable are more likely to agree that digital course materials provide a dynamic learning environment (75% vs 43%) and improve understanding (70% vs. 40%).
Instructor Use of Materials Makes a Big Difference
Students more often acquire and find value in their course materials when faculty incorporates them into class instruction. About 93% of students acquired access codes when incorporated into their course compared to only 40% who acquired when they were not recommended or incorporated into instruction.
Of students who used their course materials extensively for class, 84% found the materials to be "very or extremely useful," compared to 13% who used their course materials very little. Of students who did not acquire at least one of their course materials, 66% made that choice because they believed them to be unnecessary for the course.
Media Note: These are just some of the findings contained in the latest edition of Student WatchTM. For more information, or to request an interview, please contact Jennifer Libertowski at email@example.com.
About OnCampus Research
OnCampus Research is the expert on the ever-shifting dynamics of the college student market. With more than 75 years of experience in the college industry, OnCampus Research offers full-service quantitative and qualitative research that delivers invaluable insights into this increasingly important demographic. OCR is a division of indiCo LLC.
Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association representing the $10 billion collegiate retailing industry. NACS represents nearly 2,300 campus retailers and approximately 1,000 associate members who supply books and other products to college stores. NACS member stores serve America's college students while supporting the academic missions of higher education institutions everywhere. Additional information on NACS can be found online at www.nacs.org.
SOURCE National Association of College Stores