Recently, I read an article about the expenses of college on Vox, specifically, the high cost of textbooks students face. In the article a quote from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, “Textbook costs increased 88 percent between 2006 and 2016,” which as you can imagine, with the already high costs of colleges and universities, makes it so that students can’t even afford these resources, or most of the time, necessary study aids for class.
While libraries can sometimes help and bookstores on some college campuses still offer “rental” programs or even allow students to take the books at little to no cost providing they return them, paying for textbooks is incredibly difficult for many students and, as the Vox article states, some go without.
I graduated from College in 2006 and, maybe this is a relative thing, but books were expensive then and it’s only gotten worse from there. Students who may have housing and tuition paid for are still looking at costs that may range from around $500 to over $1000 each semesters. And if you try to sell those books back, it’s kind of a joke at what you’re offered for this used thing that next semester will likely bring top dollar.
While I realize this is anecdotal, I remember when I was in college and had to buy a little grammar book for about $25. It was basics, nothing I hadn’t heard before, but we can all use a refresher on grammar rules from time to time so I bought the thing. I don’t recall using it so when I went to sell it back I was offered a massive buyback price of $1. I kept the book on principle.
Again, this is a statement specific to my experience, but I do know more professors are trying to keep students from having to purchase an expensive tome. While some majors are more able to do this than others, and obviously a textbook for someone in Engineering is going to cost far and away more than those of us who had to load up on a few used novels, I think a stand in the classroom, where able, is going to go a long way in helping students.
The cost of college is a long conversation and would require pages and pages of an article but I wanted to quickly mention the great article I read (linked above) and their look on the current and future state of textbooks. While I would encourage students to make use of their library (both school and community) for a variety of resources on countless subjects, we’ve got to find ways to help make knowledge accessible to students when it’s required for the classroom.