Carnegie Mellon University

Textbook Provisions (Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008)

About the HEOA

The Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) of 2008 outlines several provisions for publishers and higher education institutions related to textbooks and other course materials. According to the law, the language addressing textbooks is meant to “ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials (Sec. 133 a.)”

About the Textbook Section

Information about textbooks is included in Section 133 of the HEOA. The following portions of the Section are relevant to faculty:

. - To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall - 
‘‘(1) disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes, except that -
‘‘(A) if the International Standard Book Number is not available for such college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall include in the Internet course schedule the author, title, publisher, and copyright date for such college textbook or supplemental material; and
‘‘(B) if the institution determines that the disclosure of the information described in this subsection is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall so indicate by placing the designation ‘To Be Determined’ in lieu of the information required under this subsection; and
‘‘(2) if applicable, include on the institution’s written course schedule a notice that textbook information is available on the institution’s Internet course schedule, and the Internet address for such schedule.
‘‘(e) AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION FOR COLLEGE BOOKSTORES. - An institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall make available to a college bookstore that is operated by, or in a contractual relationship or otherwise affiliated with, the institution, as soon as is practicable upon the request of such college bookstore, the most accurate information available regarding -
‘‘(1) the institution’s course schedule for the subsequent
academic period
; and
‘‘(2) for each course or class offered by the institution for the subsequent academic period—
‘‘(A) the information required by subsection (d)(1) for each college textbook or supplemental material required or recommended for such course or class;
‘‘(B) the number of students enrolled in such course or class; and
‘‘(C) the maximum student enrollment for such course or class.

CMU's Responsibility & Institutional Requirements

Carnegie Mellon must disclose all required and recommended textbooks and supplemental materials for each course. 

To facilitate this process, faculty and/or department coordinators should submit textbook information to by the following dates each semester:

  • Fall Semester: End of March (preceding the fall semester)
  • Spring Semester: End of October (preceding the spring semester)
  • Summer Session: End of February (preceding the summer session)

The Carnegie Mellon University bookstore will research and publish the textbook ISBN and pricing information as required by the HEOA.

Note: For courses where no current faculty member is listed or the disclosure of the required information is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, the faculty or department should notify the CMU bookstore so that "TBA" can be indicated as required by HEOA. 

Once textbook information is submitted, the CMU bookstore will be able to provide students with various purchase and rental options to meet their individual needs and with the information necessary to explore other purchasing options.

View more details on CMU bookstore website