Donation Expands Textbook Access for Students

A student being given a textbook through the Top Textbooks program.

The Top Textbooks program allows students to borrow select textbooks instead of purchasing their own.

(photo: William Atkins/the George Washington University) 

“I can't afford my own,” one student said about the textbooks required for his courses. “I think that [the Top Textbooks program] allows students to take classes they otherwise couldn't,” another student wrote in an anonymous survey.

Since its inception in fall 2017, the Top Textbooks program has saved students over $302,812 in textbooks. The increasingly popular program acquires multiple copies of required textbooks for a select group of undergraduate courses with high enrollment rates that require traditionally expensive textbooks, and places them on course reserve for use by all students.

“I’m very grateful for these textbooks
because I cannot afford them and their
availability is crucial to my success.”

A student reading an economics textbook acquired through the Top Textbooks program.

(photo: William Atkins/ the George Washington University)


This fall, 32 new courses were added to the Top Textbooks program through a generous gift totaling over $15,500 from the Luther Rice Society Advisory Council.

Each year, the advisory council hears pitches from members of the GW community for programs or projects to which they can direct their giving.

Through the advisory council, donors pledge annual leadership gifts that transform the lives of students by providing program funds, advancing pioneering research, and providing the #OnlyAtGW moments that define the premier university in our nation’s capital. “We were drawn to give to this program because of the direct impact it has on a wide range of diverse students,” Phillip Leibow, B.B.A. ‘87, M.Accy. ‘89, co-chair of the advisory council, said.

When GW Libraries and Academic Innovation purchased a $377.75 textbook for the Introduction to Financial Accounting course, it saved 42 students a total of $15,865 in the fall 2018 semester alone. Another 22 students used the same textbook in spring 2018, saving students an additional $8,310.

“I remember the burdensome costs of textbooks from my own undergraduate experience, and it made sense to support a program that has a direct and discernible impact on current students,” Steve LaForte, B.A. '86, J.D. '93, co-chair of the advisory council, said.

“I'm very grateful for these textbooks,'' another student wrote in the survey, “because I cannot afford them and their availability is crucial to my success.”