Beginning this spring, Williams students receiving financial aid will pay no out-of-pocket expenses for course books. Instead they will swipe their ID cards at Water Street Books and the cost will go on their term bills, to be covered completely by their financial aid grants.

In the past, each aided student received a grant of $400 per semester for textbooks, no matter how much they cost. To avoid paying out-of-pocket expenses, some students picked courses based on the cost of books. Another option was borrowing books from the 1914 Library, but those were often different editions, and students couldn’t write in them or keep them for future reference.

The new system removes these barriers and is “cost-neutral to the College,” says provost and treasurer Bill Lenhart. Meanwhile, the 1914 Library will close.