Report 2007-116 Recommendations and Responses in 2014-041

Report 2007-116: Affordability of College Textbooks: Textbook Prices Have Risen Significantly in the Last Four Years, but Some Strategies May Help to Control These Costs for Students

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2013-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
California Community Colleges 6 10 3 2 0

Recommendation To: Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

To increase awareness and transparency about the reasons campus bookstores add markups to publishers' invoice prices for textbooks, UC, CSU, and the community colleges should reevaluate bookstores' pricing policies to ensure that markups are not higher than necessary to support bookstore operations. If the campuses determine that bookstore profits are needed to fund other campus activities, the campuses should seek input from students as necessary to determine whether such purposes are warranted and supported by the student body, particularly when higher textbook prices result.

Response

While the Chancellor's Office completed the bulk of the recommendations from the 2008 report shortly after it was issued, our office did not follow through with two recommendations from the report dealing with community college bookstores for the following reasons: 1) the budget crisis was dominating the attention of college personnel and our office; and 2) it is not within the scope of our legal authority to impose a state mandate requiring compliance with these recommendations from the State Auditor and if we had, it would have created a reimbursable state mandate resulting in costs to the state.

CCC Chancellor's Office Actions to Implement Recommendations #1 and #2

It is not within the scope of our office's legal authority to require colleges to adopt the specified practices. In addition, if we were to issue guidelines or regulations to this effect, it would constitute a reimbursable state mandate and result in costs to the state. Given these limitations, we have taken the following steps to implement the recommendations:

1. Reached out to the Association of Chief Business Officials (ACBO) to discuss these recommendations. This statewide group represents chief business officials, the campus leaders most likely to be involved in bookstore oversight.

2. Issued a communication to chief business officials at the 112 California community colleges, drawing their attention to these recommendations and urging them to consider implementing the policies at their local bookstores or in contracts with third-party book stores. (Documenting email communication will be sent to laurak@auditor.ca.gov)

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: August 2014
  • Response Date: August 2014

Recommendation To: Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

To increase awareness and transparency about the reasons campus bookstores add markups to publishers' invoice prices for textbooks, UC, CSU, and the community colleges should direct bookstores to publicly disclose on an annual basis any amounts they use for purposes that do not relate to bookstore operations, such as contributions they make to campus organizations and activities.

Response

While the Chancellor's Office completed the bulk of the recommendations from the 2008 report shortly after it was issued, our office did not follow through with two recommendations from the report dealing with community college bookstores for the following reasons: 1) the budget crisis was dominating the attention of college personnel and our office; and 2) it is not within the scope of our legal authority to impose a state mandate requiring compliance with these recommendations from the State Auditor and if we had, it would have created a reimbursable state mandate resulting in costs to the state.

CCC Chancellor's Office Actions to Implement Recommendations #1 and #2

It is not within the scope of our office's legal authority to require colleges to adopt the specified practices. In addition, if we were to issue guidelines or regulations to this effect, it would constitute a reimbursable state mandate and result in costs to the state. Given these limitations, we have taken the following steps to implement the recommendations:

1. Reached out to the Association of Chief Business Officials (ACBO) to discuss these recommendations. This statewide group represents chief business officials, the campus leaders most likely to be involved in bookstore oversight.

2. Issued a communication to chief business officials at the 112 California community colleges, drawing their attention to these recommendations and urging them to consider implementing the policies at their local bookstores or in contracts with third-party book stores. (Documenting email communication will be sent to laurak@auditor.ca.gov)

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Resolved
  • Completion Date: August 2014
  • Response Date: August 2014

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2014-041