The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has partnered with Cengage, an education and technology company to offer free textbooks to students at historically Black colleges and universities.
Giving away things comes naturally for the UNCF, as they have been awarding scholarships to Black students, advocating for minority education, and providing funding to HBCUs over the last 75 years and counting. Cengage is known as the Netflix of educational material, so teaming with them was a no brainer. With the partnership, the fund will provide 1,000 students free textbooks through a semester-long subscription to Cengage.
Cengage reported that buying textbooks while in college is number one reason for stress among college students. The company reported that 60% of Black students decide not buy their required textbooks or other required course material due to the finances they require. The average cost of a textbook is about $153 per course and the average student spends roughly $1200 a year on books and materials alone according to CBS News. By providing free textbooks, the UNCF and Cengage hope to alleviate the stress and financial burden some students will have.
The CEO of Cengage, Michael Hansen stated, “Every student should have an equal opportunity to succeed, and having the right learning materials can have a critical impact on performance.” Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of UNCF, said, “We must continue to invest our time and money in better futures for young people around the country and we are pleased to have Cengage as an ally in helping to educate the next generation of leaders.”
For students looking to receive the free textbooks, they must meet the following criteria: HBCU students must be of African descent, have a minimum 2.5 GPA, give proof of financial need, submit an essay, and letter of recommendation. The deadline for the 2019 fall semester is August 29th and the application for the 2020 spring semester will open on November 4th.
More information about the program and how to apply can be found here.