Our Letter to the Department of Education on Automatic Textbook Billing

On February 23rd, we sent a letter from 54 student organizations and more than 350 individual students urging the Department of Education to continue with its efforts to curb automatic textbook billing, including changing the Cash Management rule to make “Inclusive Access” programs “opt-in” for students. Together, we represented student voices across more than 20 states and 76 institutions.

February 23, 2024

The Honorable Miguel Cardona Secretary
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202

Dear Secretary Cardona,

As college student leaders across the United States, we write to express our support for the Department of Education’s proposal to curb automatic textbook billing programs such as “Inclusive Access” and “Equitable Access.” These programs pose challenges that affect not only our finances but also our ability to make informed choices about the materials essential for our learning. We urge you to put students’ needs over those of the textbook industry and make these programs “opt-in.”

It’s no secret that textbooks are a significant financial burden for many students, with costs often running into the hundreds of dollars per semester for a single course’s materials. These high costs can severely impact our ability to afford other essentials, such as housing, food, and transportation. Getting automatically billed for course materials only exacerbates this financial strain, leaving less room for students to manage our limited resources and financial aid effectively.

Automatic textbook billing can lead to higher expenses for students and erode our ability to make informed decisions about our educational resources. Many of us have found ourselves forced into these programs, billed for digital textbooks that we may not want or need, and faced with opt-out processes that are cumbersome and not always clearly communicated. The lack of transparency and difficulty in opting out can make it hard to seek out more affordable alternatives, such as used textbooks, rental options, or other digital formats available at a lower cost. Some “Equitable Access” programs are so outrageous that they even bill students for using open educational resources (OER), which can be accessed online for free.

We are also concerned about the equity implications of these programs. Despite the textbook industry’s use of the terms “inclusive” and “equitable” to describe them, automatic billing programs can disproportionately affect lower-income and first generation students, who are already facing significant barriers in pursuing their education. Truly inclusive and equitable access to education requires policies that support transparency, affordability, and choice in how students acquire their materials, not practices that obscure the true cost of education and limit students’ options.

It is for these reasons that we urge the Department of Education to continue with its efforts to curb automatic textbook billing, including changing the Cash Management rule to make these programs “opt-in” for students. Making “Inclusive Access” and “Equitable Access” truly optional empowers students to decide whether these programs offer the savings and benefits they claim. If it’s a good deal, students will opt-in in large numbers. If it’s not, students won’t and shouldn’t be forced to. Higher education is meant to prepare students for a better future, not funnel our financial aid and limited resources into the hands of the textbook industry. This is an opportunity to support a common-sense, student-friendly policy.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter and your ongoing work on behalf of students.


Student Organizations

Kate Charco, Senior Advisor, Latinx Business Student Association, UC Berkeley
Alida Dunleavy, Chapter Chair, CALPIRG, UC Berkeley
Jonas Kramer, 100% Clean Energy Coordinator, CALPIRG, UC Berkeley
Rena Cohen, Chapter Chair, CALPIRG, UC Davis
Anna Stone, Member, CALPIRG, UC San Diego
Clara Castronovo, Board Chair, CALPIRG, UCLA
Camellia Cartland, Chapter Chair, CALPIRG, UC Irvine
Anna Carr, Club Member, CALPIRG, UC Merced
Sierra Ferrante, Chapter Chair, CALPIRG, UC Santa Barbara
Ephraim Shalunov, President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Associated Students, UC Santa Barbara
Michelle Dong, External Vice President, Associated Students of UC Irvine
Faye Vuong, External Chair, Associated Students Book Bank, UC Santa Barbara
Joyce Tong, New Member Educator, Sigma Omicron Pi, UC San Diego
Vanessa Caudillo, Vice President, Pre-Veterinary Club, UC Riverside
Jocelyn Berdusco, Board Member, CALPIRG, UC Riverside
Margo Grigoreva, Intern, CALPIRG, UC Santa Cruz

Zeynep Oguzer, Chapter Chair, ConnPIRG, Trinity College

Allyson Caine, President, Students Protecting the Environment and Animals through Knowledge, University of South Florida
Annabelle Folsom, President, Florida PIRG, University of South Florida
Danya Awshah, President, Student Environmental Association, University of South Florida
Ethan Hubler, Chapter Chair, Florida PIRG, Eckerd College
Kaitlyn Hewitt, Intern, Florida PIRG at FSU, Florida State University
Luci Blanco, Academic Affairs Coordinator, Student Government, University of Central Florida
Lucia Chico, Assistant Director of Recruitment, Delta Sigma Pi, University of Florida

Caleb Gustavson, Vice President, Student PIRGs, Georgia State University

Matthew Almendras, President, Undergraduate Student Government, University of Illinois-Chicago

Nicholas Breymaier, Treasurer, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, University of Maryland, College Park
Edward Reyes, Member, Environmental Club, University of Maryland Global Campus

Aliyah Mekuria, Member, MASSPIRG, UMass – Amherst
Ashanti McLean, Chapter Chair, MASSPIRG, UMass – Boston
Marshall MacDonald, President, Student Government Association, UMass – Dartmouth
Musa Mutingamo, Member, MASSPIRG, Middlesex Community College
Nathan O’Connell, Member, MASSPIRG, Salem State University
Sean Simonini, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, MASSPIRG, UMass – Lowell
Som Bishoyi, PhD/Graduate Student and Research Assistant, MASSPIRG, UMass – Dartmouth


Evan Wahmhoff, President, PIRGIM Campus Action, Michigan State University

Mark Spring, President, University of Montana Gerontology Society, University of Montana

New Jersey
Garcelle Stephens, Production Director, Routure Magazine, Rutgers University
Maggie Lu, Board Chair, NJPIRG, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Robin Lou, Board Vice Chair, NJPIRG, Rutgers University – Newark
Aarushi Fernandez, Vice President, Rutgers University Student Assembly

North Carolina
Neil Sharma, Co-Director, Academic Affairs and Professional Development, Undergraduate Student Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Addie Cooper, State Board Chair and Chapter Chair, OSPIRG, University of Oregon
Alexander Aghdaei, Chair of the Executive Committee, Oregon Student Association, University of Oregon
Carolyn Roderique, Labor Secretary, Associated Students at the University of Oregon
Kayla Snell, Social Media Coordinator, Affiliated Students for Undergraduate Research and Engagement (ASURE), University of Oregon
Milan Geurin, Secretary, Aspiring Educators, University of Oregon
Oscar Tovar, Student Outreach Coordinator, Multicultural Center, University of Oregon
Javier Estrada, Student Body President, Associated Students of Mt. Hood Community College
Brayden Clayburn, President, Associated Students of Southern Oregon University

Clara Gilles, President, PennPIRG, University of Pittsburgh
Sydney Greenway, Vice President, Urban Planning Club, University of Pittsburgh

Natasha Ledum, Member, TexPIRG, The University of Texas at Austin

Matteah Davis, Chapter Chair, Affordable Healthcare Campaign Coordinator, WashPIRG University of Washington

Individual Students

Ashley Amacher, University of Arizona
Nikhila Basana, Arizona State University

Roderick Jordan Billedo, California State Polytechnic University
Baran Mohseni, California State University, Fullerton
Lisa Storm, Hartnell College
Brianna Kim, Occidental College
Georgette Ayaz, Pepperdine University
Shoshana Karp, Pierce College
Lania Whiteside, Santa Monica College
Chris Peter, Stanford University
Isabelle McNabb, Stanford University
Abe Selvas, Stanford University
Jennifer Medrano, UC Santa Barbara
Sydney Yamanishi, UC Santa Barbara
Carlyle Mackenzie, UC Berkeley
Alexandra Gray, UC Berkeley
Michelle Plotitsa, UC Berkeley
Vincent Chen, UC Berkeley
Aleida Hernandez, UC Berkeley
Amelia Wardle Stacey, UC Berkeley
Alexander Shahla, UC Berkeley
Milo Harmon Maurer, UC Berkeley
Eythana Miller, UC Berkeley
Rio Sleeth, UC, Berkeley
Paige Lieblich, UC, Berkeley
Ricarda Suárez Moreno, UC Berkeley
Lily Burkin, UC Berkeley
Olivia D, UC Berkeley
Kyan Nakano, UC Berkeley
Daniel Chen, UC Davis
Unaisa Khan, UC Davis
Thomas Nguyen, UC Davis
Samuel Greene, UC Davis
Britney Nguyen, UC Davis
Josue Velasquez, UC Davis
Tiffany Shr, UC Davis
Riley Martin, UC Davis
Julia Brestyansky, UC Davis
Naomi Nickolaus, UC Davis
Aerin Pidgeon, UC Davis
Neerav Sahay, UC Davis
Nausir Firas, UC Irvine
Isabelle Tandradinata, UCLA
Jessica Negrete, UCLA
Jake Jacobsen, UCLA
Ashley Hernandez, UCLA
Defne Ertem, UCLA
Brittney Alvarez, UCLA
Eleanor Vo, UCLA
Sheila Garcia, UCLA
Michelle Marinello, UCLA
Sophia Francis, UCLA
Nikolas Brandt, UCLA
Sanjna Tailor, UCLA
Niklas Leet, UCLA
Allison Wang, UC Riverside
Brianna Ross, UC Riverside
Makei Harrison, UC Riverside
Ankita Ahluwalia, UC Riverside
Abby Choy, UC Riverside
James Anderson, UC Riverside
Tingxuan Wu, UC Riverside
Colin Loveland, UC Riverside
Joanna Castro, UC Riverside
Faraz Aqil, UC Riverside
Katharine Pan, UC Riverside
Keren Lo, UC Riverside
Eshita Santosh, UC Riverside
Jocelyn Berdusco, UC Riverside
Marcello Saavedra, UC Riverside
Emelda Fonki, UC Riverside
Chelsea Aneke, UC Riverside
Mia Sunahara, UC Riverside
Bryan Lemus, UC Riverside
Eduardo Samoy, UC Riverside
Judith Morales, UC Riverside
Joseph Gonzalez, UC Riverside
Sam Propst, UC San Diego
Joyce Yang, UC San Diego
Rachael Lin, UC San Diego
Calvin Young, UC San Diego
Justin Balis, UC San Diego
Emma Contreras, UC San Diego
Miranda Sih, UC San Diego
David Zheng, UC San Diego
Jovan Daniel, UC San Diego
Newton Chung, UC San Diego
Calvin MacLean, UC San Diego
Rohan Kumar, UC San Diego
Roque Morales, UC San Diego
Callie Banta, UC Santa Barbara
Juana Perez, UC Santa Barbara
Citlali Ibarra, UC Santa Barbara
Iris Robidoux, UC Santa Barbara
Eltzery Munoz, UC Santa Barbara
Maggie Powell, UC Santa Barbara
Natalia Rodriguez Martinez, UC Santa Barbara
Mariam Nawaz, UC Santa Barbara
Holly Oearson, UC Santa Barbara
Kira Pusch, UC Santa Barbara
Annie Gleason, UC Santa Barbara
Jenny Jiang, UC Santa Barbara
Mia Hermida, UC Santa Barbara
Sophie Jenkins, UC Santa Barbara
Yashaswi Venkat Nerella, UC Santa Barbara
Paris Huynh, UC Santa Barbara
Levi Corlew, UC Santa Barbara
Victor Charle, UC Santa Barbara
Margo Grigoreva, UC Santa Cruz
Regina Kim, UC Santa Cruz
Max Sárosi, UC Santa Cruz
Alison Clarke, UC Santa Cruz
Dylan Guzman, UC Santa Cruz
Cameron Parker, University of Southern California
Delvis Jiménez, Vanguard University of Southern California

Emily Martinez, Eckerd College
Adonaya Joyce, Eckerd College
Aubrey Wilson, Eckerd College
Joel Andersen, Eckerd College
Tessie Sacchetti, Eckerd College
Zipporah Kaufman, Eckerd College
Zoe Collins, Eckerd College
Sara Sonn, Eckerd College
Emily Robinson, Eckerd College
Ella Skonieczny, Eckerd College
Rachael Boatwright, Eckerd College
Ella Skonieczny, Eckerd College
Jo Sievers, Eckerd College
Peyton Irby, Florida Gulf Coast University
Alexander Asmus, Florida State University
Ella Garcia, Florida State University
Ella Windlan, Florida State University
Josephine Whelan, Florida State University
Jordan Sabo, University of Florida
Ryan Jones, University of Florida
Kevin Vargas, University of Florida
Kiera Hessler, University of Florida
Daniel Arango, University of South Florida
Katarina Camacho, University of South Florida
Ann Charette, University of South Florida
Sydney LeGrand, University of South Florida
Pallavi Kandipati, University of South Florida
Timothy Walgaard, University of South Florida
Matthew Bernucca, University of South Florida
Angela Virgil, University of South Florida
Ivan Borkowsky Steagall, University of South Florida
Kaitlyn Graulich, University of South Florida
Arjun Manohar, University of South Florida
Sanika Kende, University of South Florida
Laila Farhat, University of South Florida
Emma Graumlich, University of West Florida

Senait Moges, Georgia Military College
Elijah Thorpe, Georgia State University
Kristina Jolly, Georgia State University
Erum Kabani, Georgia State University
Jayden Simmons, Georgia State University

Ishmael Mendoza, University of Chicago
Sof Ford, University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

Danielle Lemieux, Berkshire Community College
Karina Rosado, Brandeis University
Isabelle Wurmser, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Simran Prajapati, MassBay Community College
Rachel Green, UMass – Boston
Christelle Saint-Louis, UMass – Boston
Adriana Victorian, UMass – Boston
Landon Roberts, UMass – Boston
Balsam Mafhoum, UMass – Boston
Erynn Esguerra, UMass – Boston
Rose Kalayci, UMass – Boston
Vuong Tran, UMass – Boston
Samuel De Araujo, UMass – Boston
Robby Austermehle, UMass – Boston
Silvie Prinston, UMass – Boston
Kazi Rafih, UMass – Boston
Savannah Finlayson, UMass – Dartmouth
Brianna Hume, UMass – Dartmouth
Daniel Reevior, UMass – Dartmouth
Quinton Gill, UMass – Lowell
Chris Gomez, UMass – Amherst
Alicia Bergeron, UMass – Amherst
Ansel Miller, UMass – Amherst
Rebecca Steere, UMass – Amherst
Jennifer Phan, UMass – Boston
Grace Kaseke Kindeke, UMass – Boston
LaTasha Moody-Love, UMass – Boston
Amber Mulvey, UMass – Boston
Mehul Puri, UMass – Dartmouth
Aidan Theobald, UMass – Dartmouth
Sohana Hasan, UMass – Lowell
Qinglong Diep, UMass – Lowell
Aiden DeCaro, Salem State University
Joshua Allen, Westfield State University


Marcos Pomales, University of Maryland
Ashley-Ann Waaldijk, University of Maryland
Soren Trimble, University of Maryland

Jack Bembenek, Michigan State University
Griffin Bandler, Michigan State University
Candace Metzger, Michigan State University
Anya Scott, Michigan State University
Camryn Sparschu, Michigan State University
Margaret Babiarz, Michigan State University
Celia C Baerwalde, Michigan State University
Michelle Busschots, University of Michigan
Traven Yarbro, University of Michigan – Dearborn

Joel Sadofsky, Macalester College


Malcolm Greer, University of Nevada – Las Vegas

New Jersey

Urja Nayak, Rutgers University
Michael Joseph, Rutgers University
Christopher Godoy, Rutgers University
Omay Edekar, Rutgers University
Mary Elgayar, Rutgers University
Marisa Frustaci, Rutgers University
Destiny Rosales, Rutgers University
Evelyn Hong, Rutgers University
Norman Markowitz, Rutgers University
Morgan Losnedahl, Rutgers University – Camden
Andie Purks, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Jackson Fattell, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Valeria Monsalve, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Katherine Sidebotham, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Mahailia Campbell, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Rebecca Bristol, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Grace Keaveny, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Jack Tarna, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Jerry Luo, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Zeinab Imam, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Layla Yassein, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Micaela Bajar, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Haris Jabir, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Abidul Bhuiyan, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Japjot Kaur, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Priya Patel, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Khushi Agrawal, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Norah MacKendrick, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Rhena Powell, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Isabella Ruiz, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Benjamin Abrams, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Janybeth Leiva, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Sebastian Rios, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Amina Masum, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Christiana Duruegbuso, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Shannon DelGuercio, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Nikhita Kumar, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Hannah Ferrer, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Carly Flood, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Nickey Clyburn, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Benjamin Elikem, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Eric Cosme, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Penelope, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Isabella Andreacci, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Sansita Kumar, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Zoe Iwaniak, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Penelope de la Cruz, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Nicole Garcia, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Jack Ramirez, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Linnea Peterson, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Keely McCabe, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Sima Baroudi, Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Fama Yassein, Rutgers University – Newark
Marisa Wilcher, Rutgers University – Newark
Calebe Pereira, Rutgers University – Newark
Scarlett Polanco, Rutgers University – Newark
Kendra Spencer, Rutgers University – Newark
Amira Bradai, Rutgers University – Newark
Kenny Mejia, Rutgers University – Newark
Tahsin Shah, Rutgers University – Newark
Daniel Palumbo, Rutgers University – Newark
Julie Jang, Rutgers University – Newark
Thomas, Rutgers University – Newark
Dayannara Vilchez, Rutgers University – Newark
Sadya Ahmad, Rutgers University – Newark
Kaden Komine, Rutgers University – Newark
Bolaji Falade, Rutgers University – Newark
Meha Solanki, Rutgers University – Newark
Anel Mata-Payerro, Rutgers University – Newark
Pauline Lee, Rutgers University – Newark
Helen Jaramillo, Rutgers University – Newark
Briana Anderson, Rutgers University – Newark
Patience Iwarimie, Rutgers University – Newark
Deborah Adeoye-Davids, Rutgers University – Newark
Sabriyyah Thomas, Rutgers University – Newark

New York
Anastasia Garcia, State University of New York – Purchase
Sterling Salmini, Lehigh University

Carol Sciba, Portland State University
Cadence Allen, Lane Community College
Rook Smith, Southern Oregon University
Keeley Reiners, Southern Oregon University
Joe Page, Oregon State University
Christina Young-Valdovinos, Oregon State University
Alberto Lepe Romero, Pacific University
Jacob DiGioia-Miller, Portland State University
Paul Davis, Salem State University
Taylor Laroche, Salem State University
Danissa Arias, Salem State University
Cash Kowalski, University of Oregon
Andre Fulton, University of Oregon
Evan Tucker, University of Oregon
Sequojah Oforah, University of Oregon
Talya Schwartz, University of Oregon
River Collis, University of Oregon
Brian Hubbell, University of Oregon
Grace Corcoran, University of Oregon
Josselyn Studer, University of Oregon
Benni Howard, University of Oregon
Madison Studer, University of Oregon
Carolina O’Malley, University of Oregon
Declan Zupo, University of Oregon
Quinn Gulka, University of Oregon
Mei Taw, University of Oregon
Jacob, University of Oregon
Brook Anderson, University of Oregon
Rachel Hubbard, University of Oregon
Claudia Lindeberg, University of Oregon
Khouseka Rajavelan, University of Oregon
Isabella Fehringer, University of Oregon
Eleanor Foster, University of Oregon
Tobias Miller, University of Oregon
Henry Beck, University of Oregon
Rowan Dodero, University of Oregon
Claire O’Connor, University of Oregon
Faaris Anwer, University of Oregon
Arealle Seegers, University of Oregon
Madison Urban, University of Oregon
Abby Bushman, University of Oregon
Hannah Keagy, University of Oregon
Darby Van Fleet, University of Oregon
Jada Lukens, University of Oregon
Sierra Dalton, University of Oregon
Kali Nicole Kleven, University of Oregon
Elizabeth Lucas, University of Oregon
Julia Harmon, University of Oregon
Jade Koch, University of Oregon
Yorcely Reyes Garcia, University of Oregon
Adrian Cabrera, University Of Oregon
Riley Goldstein, University of Oregon
Tobias Miller, University of Oregon
Paul McCandlish, University of Oregon
Emma Watson, University of Oregon
Melody Chavez, University of Oregon
Derrick Mosagwe, University of Oregon
Prissila Moreno, University of Oregon
Nicole Tucker, University of Oregon

Mengjia Sun, The University of Texas at Austin
Zen Marks, The University of Texas at Austin
Somtochukwu Okere, The University of Texas at Austin
Montana Wooten, The University of Texas at Austin
Polina Lee, The University of Texas at Austin
Christopher Cambridge, The University of Texas at Austin
Sam Gastwirth, The University of Texas at Austin

Natalie Baumeister, University of Virginia

Washington, D.C.

Ollie Henry, Georgetown University
Jordan Schuman, Georgetown University Washington
Rebecca Hoffmeister, The Evergreen State College
George Lemke, University of Washington
Kamaya Ronning, University of Washington
Laura Schubert, University of Washington
Jenna Fennell, University of Washington
Vickie Hin, University of Washington
Apollo Jean Paul, University of Washington
Katherine Chen, University of Washington
Percy Sandhu, University of Washington
Amalie Sorenson, University of Washington
Bailey Cunningham, University of Washington
Lyla Kelber, University of Washington
Eitana Wyle, University of Washington
Katie Rose Wilbur, University of Washington
Julia Santamaria, University of Washington

Parker Wall, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Phoenix Rowell, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Bret Spielbauer, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Valorie Tello, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Wesley Anhorn, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Margaux Rierson, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Heaven Moua, University of Wisconsin – Madison