7 in 10 Students Have Skipped Buying a Textbook Because of Its Cost, Survey Finds

Molly Redden:

For many students and their families, scraping together the money to pay for college is a big enough hurdle on its own. But a new survey has found that, once on a campus, many students are unwilling or unable to come up with more money to buy books–one of the very things that helps turn tuition dollars into academic success.
In the survey, released on Tuesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit consumer-advocacy organization, seven in 10 college students said they had not purchased a textbook at least once because they had found the price too high. Many more respondents said they had purchased a book whose price was driven up by common textbook-publishing practices, such as frequent new editions or bundling with other products.
“Students recognize that textbooks are essential to their education but have been pushed to the breaking point by skyrocketing costs,” said Rich Williams, a higher-education advocate with the group, known as U.S. PIRG. “The alarming result of this survey underscores the urgent need for affordable solutions.”

2 thoughts on “7 in 10 Students Have Skipped Buying a Textbook Because of Its Cost, Survey Finds”

  1. college textbooks are expensive – besides buying, textbooks can be rented. expect not long before all purchased electronically.

  2. Renting textbooks is certainly the way to go. I was very happy that UW Whitewater supported that practise. It certainly saved us at least a couple of hundred bucks each semester for our daughter’s education.
    That is the pro. The con to renting is the loss of a resource. In college, I often kept important books that allowed review of the material as I progressed in a particular area. Some of these books I still have; a number are considered classics. My textbook on Advanced Calculus by Buck is now selling for over $100; a classic by Tukey is $125 used now.
    But, I think back to my daughter’s MMSD educational experiences and I shudder. Remember the middle school math curriculum: a few weeks on a particular topic, then take a test, and doing well or not, give the book back, and wait until the next year to get another chance at mastery. If it’s the 3rd week in March, the topic must be scaling, whether the kids are ready for it or not. Similar for high school: one chance to get the material, no chance for review.
    Some of these same concepts are applying to rented online textbooks where you have access to them until the end of the semester, then they disappear.
    This is truly the assembly line implementation of education.

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