Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the “Higher Education Opportunity Act”?

    The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (the HEA). The HEOA makes a number of changes to programs authorized under the HEA, authorizes new programs, and makes changes to other laws. It also imposes new reporting and disclosure obligations on institutions that participate in Title IV federal student financial aid programs. The U.S. Department of Education has published a “Dear Colleague Letter” which provides a summary of each provision of the HEOA. A copy of the Dear Colleague Letter is available at
  • When did the Higher Education Opportunity Act go into effect?

    The provisions of the HEOA were effective upon enactment, August 14, 2008, unless otherwise noted in the law. Information regarding the effective dates of specific HEOA provisions is available at: Questions regarding the effective dates may also be directed to the Office of the General Counsel at (785) 864-3276.

  • What are the requirements regarding textbooks stipulated in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (“HEOA”), Section 133 (20 U.S.C. § 1015)?

    By July 1, 2010, institutions that receive Title IV funds must, “to the maximum extent practicable,” disclose on their Internet course schedule the International Standard Book Number (“ISBN”) and retail price information of required and recommended textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed on the institution’s course schedule. If the ISBN number is not available, the institution must include the author, title, publisher and copyright date instead. Finally, if the institution determines it is not practicable to disclose either the ISBN number or the alternative information, it must place “To Be Determined” on its Internet course schedule.

    Institutions also must, as soon as practical and at the bookstore’s request, provide their bookstore the institution’s course schedule for the subsequent academic period, the number of students enrolled in each course, the maximum student enrollment in each course, and the ISBN numbers and retail price information of all required or recommended textbooks and supplemental materials.

    Institutions must also disclose on any written course schedules that textbook information is available on their internet course schedules and provide the web address.

    Institutions are encouraged to provide students information on institutional programs for renting textbooks or buying used textbooks, institutional guaranteed textbook buy-back programs, institutional alternative content delivery programs, and other cost-saving strategies.

  • What is the rationale for this law?

    Congress was responding to concerns expressed by student groups and others to the high cost of textbooks. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that students have timely access to affordable course materials at postsecondary institutions receiving Federal financial assistance.

  • Why am I required to provide my textbook information so early?

    The HEOA requires that the information regarding textbooks and supplemental materials be provided to students at the time of registration. Like many schools, registration at the University begins in October for spring semester and March for summer and fall semesters. Faculty must submit their orders before the registration date so that the information can be posted online.

  • What if a GTA, lecturer or adjunct faculty member has not been hired by the date that book orders are due for the upcoming semester?

    If an instructor has not been identified for a course by the date that book information is due for the upcoming semester, the University may list “To Be Determined” in place of the required information on its website. The textbook information must then be submitted to the KU Bookstore as quickly as possible after the appointment is made. In those departments where several sections of a course use a common textbook, departments are encouraged to submit this information in anticipation of course usage.

  • Are changes to an initial order prohibited after the deadline has passed?

    Instructors are not prohibited from changing a selection where circumstances warrant. However, faculty are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of their students and the intent of this law to provide students with information regarding textbooks and supplemental materials at the time of registration, “to the maximum extent practicable.” Late changes on an order may result in significant additional costs to the students. For example, once a student has bought a new book, they may be unable to return the book, or they may be unable to return the book as “new” instead of “used.” Questions regarding problems with a prior order should be directed to James Rourke, Assistant Director (785) 864-2478 or Kyle Whitley, Textbook Manager (785) 864-4658.

  • Where can I go for additional information about the HEOA textbook provisions?

    A copy of the HEOA (P.L. 110-315) is available at the following link:

    The Provost’s Office has been working with the Office of the University Registrar, The KU Bookstores, and the Office of the General Counsel on implementation of these new textbook related requirements. Additional information regarding these requirements can be obtained by contacting:

    • The KU Bookstores (James Rourke) at (785) 864-2478
    • The General Counsel’s Office at (785) 864-3276

    Regulations will not be issued under this section of the HEOA, but the Department of Education has said that it will monitor institutions and review student complaints relating to these provisions. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will be studying implementation of the section and reporting to Congress.

  • What are publishers’ responsibilities to faculty, as stipulated in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (“HEOA”), Section 133, regarding how prices of course material are quoted?

    1. COLLEGE TEXTBOOK PRICING INFORMATION.—When a publisher provides a faculty member or other person or adopting entity in charge of selecting course materials at an institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance with information regarding a college textbook or supplemental material, the publisher shall include, with any such information and in writing (which may include electronic communications), the following:
      1. The price at which the publisher would make the college textbook or supplemental material available to the bookstore on the campus of, or otherwise associated with, such institution of higher education and, if available, the price at which the publisher makes the college textbook or supplemental material available to the public.
      2. The copyright dates of the three previous editions of such college textbook, if any.
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