Eastern Kentucky University provides free textbooks for students


RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ/EKU Public Relations) – New for Fall 2021, the EKU BookSmart program at Eastern Kentucky University supplied more than 10,000 Big E Boxes containing free textbooks and course materials for every undergraduate student enrolled in the Fall 2021 semester this past week during its Big E Welcome Week.

“Seeing row after row of Big E Boxes filled with free textbooks and materials provided by our BookSmart program strongly reminded me of how important free textbooks are to our students. Every box represents an opportunity. It is essentially a scholarship for every EKU undergraduate student. Through BookSmart, students know they have more money for basic necessities, have important learning tools they need to learn and grow at Eastern from day one, and that we are investing in their success in a real way,” said EKU President Dr. David McFaddin.

The BookSmart Program represents a direct investment in student success and removes a critical barrier for undergraduate students who may not otherwise be able to afford to go to college or may face food insecurity or other financial challenges while working toward their degree.

“It feels like a reward. Attending a university that strives to help students achieve their dreams in any way they can, is simply a reward,” said Kaitlyn Ritchie, an Elementary Education major from Paris.

Big E Boxes with BookSmart books and materials were stacked up by the hundreds in Alumni Coliseum and were delivered starting Aug. 9. Part of the EKU Advantage, BookSmart is just one of EKU’s signature programs that invests in students to improve students’ success and outcomes.

“When we looked at areas of critical need for our students, providing free books and course materials for every undergraduate student was a great choice. We know from talking to our students that removing financial barriers to an EKU education is a key factor to make sure we recruit, retain and graduate our students,” said Dr. Tanlee Wasson, senior vice president for student success, engagement and opportunity.

Over the course of a year, the average college student spends more than $1,200 on books and materials, according to the College Board. As part of the EKU Advantage, EKU partnered with Barnes & Noble College to provide free textbooks for all EKU undergraduate students for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The EKU BookSmart program provides students with all required textbooks and course materials for the semester, delivered directly to them, before classes start, at no additional cost. This is an investment in students and is meant to ensure that all undergraduate students have every opportunity to succeed and earn a college degree.

The EKU BookSmart program was created to provide students with an additional level of financial support in their educational experience by lowering the cost of attendance for the 2021-2022 academic year.


RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – Many Kentucky universities started classes this week. Eastern Kentucky University is going the extra mile to welcome its students by starting a program called “Booksmart”, where undergraduate students can get all of their class materials for free.

EKU says it’s the only one in Kentucky and one of few in the nation that has a program like this. EKU President David McFaddin says he doesn’t want students to have to choose between buying textbooks or necessities like gas or rent, or base what they major in off the cost of class materials.

“When we say school of opportunity we want people to think “Booksmart” at EKU, that we’re investing in student success and it’s not just about getting students here, but keeping them here,” says McFaddin. “That they’ve got the tools in the toolbox to be able to be successful.”

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