The Amherst College Textbook Solution (ACTS) will provide all enrolled students with the necessary textbooks and course materials required for classes.

This campus-wide program will serve the needs of faculty and students and create greater educational equity, as well as ensuring that the cost of course materials is never a barrier to taking a class. ACTS will start in the 2024–25 academic year.

Program Quick Facts

  • The textbook program will serve the needs of faculty and students and create greater educational equity. 
  • The program ensures that the cost of course materials is never a barrier to taking a class.
  • Every student in a class will receive the same course materials, in the same edition and format, by the first day of classes. 
  • The textbook program simplifies the start of the semester. Once students are enrolled in a course, they will receive their required course materials in either digital or print formats. 
  • The cost of course materials will now be one of the many facets of an Amherst education included in the comprehensive fee. Follett, our partner in this program, negotiates competitive pricing with publishers, and this savings is passed on directly to Amherst.  

How It Works

  1. Faculty have the academic freedom to choose the course materials that best fit the class curriculum, including the content provider, edition and medium. 
  2. Faculty (or academic department coordinators) will submit lists of required course materials to Follett, our ACTS partner, with sufficient time to gather and prepare all materials for distribution to students.
  3. Students do not have to request their course materials. Once they are enrolled in a course, they will receive their required course materials in either digital or print formats. 
  4. Students will pick up their physical course materials at a to-be-determined location on campus for the beginning of the semester, and digital materials can be accessed immediately through an online portal that holds students’ personal “bookshelves.”
  5. Students will own their textbooks and course materials. Digital materials will remain in a student’s online bookshelf after the semester and can even be accessed after graduation. 

FAQs

Please note: exact details of some elements of the program will be available closer to the start of the Fall 2024 semester.

How does the program work?

Through ACTS, all required course materials are covered as part of the comprehensive fee. This allows every enrolled student to access required materials on or before the first day of class. Once students have registered for their courses, their course list will be sent to Follett and Follett gets everything ready for them. All students need to do is check their school email for how to access their course materials for the term.

What are the benefits to students?

There are many benefits to students, including:

  • The cost of course materials will now be one of the many facets of an Amherst education included in the comprehensive fee.
  • Course materials for registered classes will be available on day one.
  • Digital platforms offer key features such as: highlighting, flash cards & note-sharing.
  • Reduced stress related to finding and purchasing the correct course materials.

Will students save money?

Yes! Students will save between 20% – 60% based on savings at other schools and thanks to the campus store relationships with publishing partners and bulk purchasing power. The program also reduces student stress during the purchasing process and provides a method to easily access, manage and use all course materials regardless of format or cost.

What type of materials will students receive?

Depending on the class and the course materials required by the faculty, students may receive a combination of: digital course materials, printed textbooks, printed lab manuals, workbooks or coursepacks.

In 2022, Amherst eliminated course fees that were used to cover materials such as lab equipment, art supplies, and courseware. Amherst will continue to cover the cost of these materials.

When are materials supplied?

Required materials are supplied at the beginning of each term. The materials will be accessible on or before the first day of class. Before the start of each semester, students should check their amherst.edu email account for an email (from noreply@follett.com) with instructions.

Can students have printed learning materials shipped to them?

Yes! For printed materials, students will receive an email when the materials are ready for pick-up in-store, or students can choose to have them shipped at an additional cost. Students should contact their campus store for details.

Do students get to keep their materials at the end of each term?

Yes! Through ACTS, students will own the course materials provided to them. Printed materials are theirs to keep at the end of each semester. Digital materials are also theirs and can be accessed through their online bookshelf, even after graduation.

Can students choose if they want print or digital materials?

Print or digital format is determined by the faculty member for the specific course prior to the start of class. Students should check with their faculty member to see what format has been chosen for that course.  

If it is a digital version, students can contact the Amherst College Store for available print options. If a student has a qualified disability requiring print versions or other accommodations, they should contact Accessibility Services for more information.

Are recommended course materials included in the program?

Only materials identified by the faculty as “required” are included in ACTS. Recommended reading lists are often available in the Frost’s collection.

What if a student adds or drops a course?

If a student adds or drops a course, that information is automatically transmitted.

  • Added courses: Within 24 hours of adding a course, students will receive an email at their amherst.edu email address with details about how to access their digital materials and/or materials are provisioned directly into Moodle. For printed materials, students will receive an email to their amherst.edu email address letting them know when the new print materials are ready for pick-up.
  • Dropped courses: For courses dropped prior to the last day to drop/add/opt-out deadline, access to electronic or digital materials will be automatically disabled. This requires no special action on the student’s part. Printed materials must be returned to the campus store.

What if students get an incomplete grade in a course and need additional time to access course materials?

The course materials–whether printed and digital–are the student’s to keep.

I have questions that were not answered in these FAQs. Where can I get more information?

For any additional questions, please contact Ralph Johnson, executive director of campus operations and Textbook Task Force member.


Members of the Textbook Taskforce

Jack Cheney, Samuel A. Hitchcock Professor of Mineralogy and Geology; Advisor to the Provost
Jesse Barba, Director of Institutional Research and Registrar Services
Anthony Bishop, Stem Presidential Teaching Professor of Chemistry; Associate Provost and Associate Dean of the Faculty
Sara Brenneis, Professor of Spanish
David Hanneke, Associate Professor of Physics; Chair of Physics and Astronomy
Ralph Johnson, Executive Director of Campus Operations
Matt McGann, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
Nancy Ratner, Director of Academic Projects
Catherine Sanderson, Poler Family Professor of Psychology