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Textbook price hike makes students break a sweat

Prices for textbooks should be included in tuition because professors assign overpriced books to students, giving them minimal options.

by Chloe O’Rourke, Staff Writer

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A new semester means new expenses, from tuition and housing to parking passes. Many of these expenses can be overcome by financial aid and outside scholarships. But, with another tuition increase, it can be more difficult for families to afford. There is one expense that can be avoided.

The price of textbooks has been rising over the last few years. According to USA Today, the average price of a single textbook has risen 82% between 2002 and 2013. Despite this price hike, universities leave it up to students to pay although they are already paying for the content of the class itself. Something needs to be done to combat the rising prices of textbooks — part of the solution can be that required textbooks are included in the price of tuition.

The College Board estimates that the average student will pay upwards of $1200 per year on textbooks and related supplies. The reason for this is because many professors write their own books and require the use of the textbooks to pass the class. The professors have a captive market and no matter the price point students will have to pay. 

Some universities such as the University of Minnesota have placed regulations that state professors “may not personally profit from the assignment of materials.” But, the American Association of University Professors states that professors “sometimes realize profits from sales to their students,” and “professors may seem to be inappropriately enriching themselves at the expense of their students.” This should not be the case and should be policy at every university that professors may not profit from their textbooks. We as students are already paying for the class
why should we be further charged for materials written for the purpose of further enriching our professors.

If it becomes a requirement for universities to include textbooks in tuition, they will not pay the sky high prices that are charged for individual books. This in turn will drive prices down to a reasonable level that will become affordable for both the university and the students paying tuition.

This academic year, there was a five percent increase in tuition with no explicit changes to benefit students. If tuition is to be raised there should be a benefit — like more affordable textbooks. Paying $200 for a new textbook is an undue burden for students working their way through college.

If the CSU system makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum like they claim, they would find a way to keep their students from being taken advantage of in this situation.

In many cases students take on debt which is made worse by the inflated price of their books. If textbooks were included in the price of tuition, the loans for each semester would match this price. This would allow students to purchase their books without placing them in financial distress.

Students should not have to choose between purchasing an item they can’t afford or allowing their grade to suffer. Without the required textbooks classes become much more of a challenge. If universities want students to succeed, textbooks should be included in the price of tuition.

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