Staff take steps to make obtaining textbooks easier for Fresno City College students

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students are starting a new semester at Fresno City College, and thanks to some changes, it has been much smoother sailing getting their hands on the books they need.

It was a busy morning at the Fresno City College bookstore, with dozens of students stopping by to purchase some last-minute books for class. Many said last semester this wasn't the case.

"It was difficult with the stock, some books weren't there and staff wouldn't recognize what edition was needed," said freshman Jesus Carmona. "There was sometimes my debit card for my financial aid wouldn't work."

The new outsourcing of college bookstores to a third party, Follett Higher Education, had a bumpy beginning in the fall semester.

"When you start a semester, there are about 30,000 students that start," said State Center Community College District Chancellor Dr. Paul Parnell. "We have over 60,000 students every year, different students that attend our colleges, that's a lot of people all at once to show up and want to get their books."

Students complained books weren't available, and financial aid vouchers weren't being accepted.

"There was some confusion with staff not honoring vouchers," said Parnell, "As soon as we heard about that, we corrected that."

Staff members say this semester is off to a stronger start. At this point last semester, there were nearly 60 complaints of items out of stock at the FCC bookstore alone.

So far this semester, there have only been six courses impacted throughout the State Center Community College District.

"(This semester was) a lot easier," Carmona said. "I was able to get in, get the books I needed, my credit card worked."

Follette Higher Education did offer $10,000 in restitution for the book delays last semester. Still, it will have to be split between the five campuses in the district, with the majority of the funds going to FCC.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.