When Textbook Prices Go Up, Grades Go Down

By David Villegas, Reporter

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Many students are able to search online for required textbooks at cheaper prices. Yet a study conducted by market research company Wakefield Research found that 85 percent of students delayed or avoided buying their required textbooks. Fifty percent said that their grades suffered as a result.

Gregory Richard-Bonner, a former student at Roosevelt, said he felt buying textbooks wasn’t necessary for his courses. “For me, buying the textbooks were sometimes hard because I didn’t have the funds to buy it. Did it impact my classes? Yes for some, no for others,” Bonner said.

He said he believes that there are some individuals who understand a course without a textbook while others can’t. He said that it isn’t fair to raise textbook prices that are not used.

Rachel Canter, a junior education major, said that her friends did not buy the textbooks or they split up the cost if they shared classes.

“I know many students who simply refused to buy a textbook or went around it like splitting fifty with a friend on one,” Canter said.

Due to the high costs of college textbooks, there are a few politicians who recognize this as a concern.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) along with Al Franken (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act, which is aimed at creating a grant program that supports the creation and use of open college textbooks. These textbooks would be available to professors, students, researchers and others under an open license for free academic use.

This is for now the most effective way for a university to provide either free or low-cost textbooks that anyone can use. Because there is hardly any regulation of textbook prices, it is up to the companies who produce the textbooks themselves to cut prices if they want to.

One example of this method is Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, VA. In 2013, the school decided to offer an associate’s degree program that does not use traditional textbooks. The program only uses electronic textbooks for all the courses it offers.

Some might say that you must have reliable internet to use these textbooks. But, we live in an age where almost everyone has access to a computer whether it be personally or on-campus in a library. That is better than carrying around a heavy backpack filled with textbooks.

We, as students, should not have to accept this fate of being forced to pay high prices for textbooks that are only used for one semester. Most college bookstores have buyback programs that accept textbooks purchased earlier, yet there are restrictions that come along with that.

College is already stressful enough having to navigate the academics, but also social life. A lot of Roosevelt students have struggles with the Financial Aid department and they should not have to struggle more.

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