Information on E-Textbooks, Data Plans and Devices

TO: Directors of BPSS Licensed Private Career Schools

FROM: Ruth Singer, BPSS Supervisor of Educational Programs

DATE: December 4, 2014

RE: Information on E-Textbooks, Data Plans and Devices

All textbooks, hard copy or those in an electronic format, along with any and all other instructional materials, must be approved by BPSS as part of the curriculum approval process prior to use. The curriculum approval process must precede a description of such in the school catalog or on the enrollment agreement (EA).

As Licensed Private Career Schools are increasingly seeking approval to require students to purchase and/or use technological devices which may include electronic textbooks, commonly referred to as e-texts, here are some general rules that must be followed:

As with hard copy text books, e-texts must be “durable,” or otherwise permanently available to students even after the course has ended. Therefore, e-texts must be downloadable in pdf, or another format, to ensure students have continued access, i.e., permanent ownership of the instructional material. A subscription to an e-text that has an ending date is not permitted.

The school must notify students, through the approved catalog and EA, of the type of device which must be available to them (already owned or to be purchased) in order to access the e-text. Any hardware to be used must also be approved as part of the curriculum process. As many students already own devices, it cannot be required that they purchase such through the school.

On the curriculum application, it must be specified how accessible the text(s) will be to students. Both e-texts and any school specific software that is to be loaded onto a device, and which the student must purchase as part of the program, must be widely accessible in any location. Details as to accessibility must be clearly stated in the catalog and EA (if there is a cost associated with it).

If a school requires that students purchase a data plan, describe in the curriculum application how pertinent it is to the approved curriculum. An applicant will need to explain 1) why the data plan outlined is needed? 2) the duration of the plan? 3) what limitations, if any, exist with the plan? and, 4) how such a required data plan is related to use of the textbook, including e-text, or other instructional materials?