Foundations Represented at U.S. Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance Hearing

Dec. 31, 2006 – IOWA CITY, Iowa—December 31, 2006—The National Learning and Achievement Organization, located in Iowa City, represented scholarship foundations at a hearing on December 18, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. The hearing was a result of Congressman David Wu’s (OR) continued efforts to bring U.S. college textbook pricing into line. The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance held the hearing at the University of Illinois – Chicago.

Tammie Cumming, Executive Director of the National Learning and Achievement Organization, attended the hearing as an invited participant. Scholarship foundations are very concerned about the rising textbook costs. “College students often pay double what overseas students pay for identical textbooks,” said Congressman David Wu. “The pricing practices of the college textbook industry defies common sense and that is why I have asked the GAO to investigate.”

“The general public and scholarship foundations have a vested interest in ensuring the textbook industry pricing methods are fair and competitive,” said Cumming. It would be unfortunate if textbook publishers increased their prices, with the knowledge that the increased prices are simply factored into the financial aid formula without much scrutiny.

Dr. Cumming further commented, “The hearing was very important for college students, the true consumers of the textbooks, yet as textbook consumers, students are not typically involved in the selection of their purchase.” Cumming also emphasized that as college expenses increase, the number of students served (by the same amount of funds) by a scholarship foundation decreases.

The National Learning and Achievement mission focuses on the assessment of educational quality and assisting K-16 educators, administrators, parents, and organizations to overcome the persistent problems in our educational system.

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