U.S. House reauthorizes bill to help students save money on books

A bill to help students save money on textbooks by allowing them access to important textbook and course-related information was reauthorized by the House of Representatives Feb. 7.

The Higher Education Act will provide students with advance information on textbook prices and International Standard Book Numbers in course schedules, ensuring that faculty have full textbook pricing information. Publishers will be required to include textbook prices, lower-priced alternatives and a history of revisions. Also, textbooks that are packaged with DVDs and other bundled class materials will be offered without those materials at lower costs to students.

“The more access students have to textbook information, the better chance they have of making a well-informed decision about buying books,” said Oren Milgram, founder of, an online textbook store for bargain-hunting buyers. “I’ve heard of students writing down ISBN numbers at on-campus bookstores and getting kicked out for it. The bookstores want to protect this information from them.”

Students spend an average of $904 a year on textbooks, according to the National Association of College Stores. The Higher Education Act will give students the options they need to decrease these costs.

-Chelsea Kate Isaacs

University upgrades employee database system

The University of Miami’s computerized employee data base, the Departmental Human Resources System, will undergo an upgrade called DHRS-web to make the service more efficient and user-friendly.

DHRS-web is planned to provide easier navigation, functionality and is hoped to ensure more security for users accessing pay-roll related data.

The upgrades will be fully implemented at the end of this fiscal year, but the Divisions of Information Technology and Human Resources have already introduced the system to over 100 members of the UM community in order to receive user feedback. This “trial period” enables system users to try out the new DHRS-web upgrades by processing their document transactions, such as new hires, terminations, promotions, transfers and salary changes.

DHRS-web will be the system’s first substantial upgrade since 1987.

Rosenstiel School faculty member selected for economic board

David Letson, associate professor of marine affairs and policy at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has been appointed to its new Council of Economic Advisors by Florida TaxWatch.

Letson and seven others chosen for the council, all from nonprofit, private and public sector organizations, will give public policy advice to the Florida government in hopes of improving and developing the state’s economy.

Letson, whose research focuses on natural resource economics, said he wants to give “decision makers” solutions to Florida’s problems with property tax reform, the rising costs of windstorm insurance and economic concerns.

“My role on the Council of Economic Advisors will be to help appraise programs that promote Florida’s economic well being and the sustainability of our local resources,” Letson said.

Florida TaxWatch is an institute geared toward research and education of government revenues, expenditures, taxation and public policies.

– Chelsea Kate Isaacs


The two tennis courts at Pearson have been refurbished. The installation of information and policy signs will be completed today at noon, and at 4:30 p.m., the courts will be officially open to the public.