Resolution 2012-02: Regarding DORS Support of Textbook Purchases


WHEREAS the purchase of textbooks and related study materials is a necessary and increasingly costly expense incurred by students who attend post-secondary institutions; and


WHEREAS, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) assists some blind Marylanders by covering the cost of textbook purchases; and


WHEREAS, this financial support may not exceed $500 per semester for full-time students and $250 per semester for part-time students, an amount that has not changed in many years, though textbook costs have not remained stagnant; and


WHEREAS, through the internet, there are several sources available to students that permit students to buy textbooks for lower prices than at their college bookstores; and


WHEREAS, DORS procurement rules place nearly insurmountable barriers in the way of students receiving reimbursement for textbook purchases at these lower prices, despite the fact that permitting  reimbursement could save state or federal dollars; and


WHEREAS, though it is theoretically possible for post-secondary students to receive financial support for textbook purchases that exceed the stated amounts by classifying such excess textbook costs as "other services," this procedure is so fraught with bureaucratic intricacy as to assure it virtually never occurs; Now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland in convention assembled this eleventh day of November, in the city of Annapolis, Maryland that we call upon DORS to amend its regulations and procedures to create an annual indexing process to account for inflation in the price of textbooks and related study materials needed by blind students to succeed in their post-secondary studies; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this organization urges DORS to develop procurement processes that encourage students to shop for lower price textbooks and related study materials by assuring that they will be reimbursed when their careful shopping saves money for DORS.