ED Confirms Bookstore Arrangements
November 28, 2012
The Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letter (GEN-1221) on November 28 confirming the common practice of allowing Title IV student aid to be used to cover bookstore charges at the campus-affiliated bookstore, regardless of whether the store is owned and operated by the institution. Confusion had arisen last spring about this during a webcast offered by ED for campus business officers and bursars.
The letter acknowledges the many different models for campus/bookstore relationships. It states that as long as the institution has a contract or other formal legal agreement with the entity operating the bookstore and has obtained proper authorization from the student, the institution may credit the student account with Title IV funds to cover bookstore charges.
The letter goes on to remind institutions about three separate issues: the inclusion of contracted bookstores in campus-crime statistics; when charges for books and supplies are considered "institutional charges" for purposes of the return of Title IV funds; and requirements for disclosure of book prices mandated by the Higher Education Opportunity Act.
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