Court blocks LCC book voucher policy

Posted: 8:18 AM, Dec 10, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-10 13:18:50Z

Hundreds of dollars for books on top of thousands of dollars in tuition.

Lansing Community College student Tracie Rae explained, "Coming from a low income struggling single parent, without financial aid I cannot attend college. I don't have the funds to do it."

That financial aid includes about 500 dollars from Lansing Community College every semester for books and supplies.

"Right here I have roughly 200, 250 dollars in books, and that's just 3 books. So if you take six classes, that's--you know--well, over 500, 600 dollars," said Rae.

That's why she and other students like to shop around.

Another LCC student Kari Decker explained, "At Amazon or Ebay you can get those same books for forty dollars. You know, when you compare a book that's 40 dollars to 400, I mean obviously you're gonna go with the 40-dollar book."

But LCC's book-voucher policy would allow them to buy books from online store "MBS" and nowhere else for the first few weeks of school.

"It's expensive first of all on the website, and second of all I mean there's so many people in worse states than myself and I just think it's really unfair," commented Decker.

The voucher money wouldn't be useable anywhere else until February. Students told me MBS is more expensive. But waiting to use the voucher somewhere else means they won't have any books when the semester begins.

"Without them I can't attend classes. I can't learn what I need to learn. I'm kind of stuck at no end," Rae explained.

And students who rely on that money say it could affect their grades the rest of the semester.

"When I haven't done the reading, I don't even know what's going on in class most of the time. So it's a little frustrating," complained Decker.

Stress she says she doesn't need on top of her classes.

"It's really important to start off your semester rock hard. Get that reading done. Make sure that you're doing your class work diligently."

Lansing Community College released this statement:
"We can confirm that Gibson’s Bookstore has, unfortunately, filed suit against LCC in a misguided attempt to prevent the College from giving students receiving federal student aid the option to purchase discounted textbooks on credit from its contracted bookstore, MBS Online. LCC respects and appreciates Gibson’s as a neighborhood business that has served LCC students and staff for a long time. But we believe its legal claims and its tactics in this matter are wholly unjustified and are terribly harmful to students receiving financial aid. We trust the court to rule appropriately on these inaccurate pending claims in accord with the applicable law."

Another Ingham County Court judge will be hearing the case.