San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Looking for textbooks this semester? Here are some affordable options as a college student

Options such as Equitable Access and Chegg are available to help students save money from the expensive burden of textbooks.
Gabrielle Houser
Illustration by Gabrielle Houser

As thousands of college students head to school this fall, the Education Data Initiative reported that the average full-time, in-state undergraduate student at a four-year public university spends around $1,226 for books and supplies in one academic year. 

Despite this statistic, San Diego State University students have options such as Equitable Access and Chegg that can help students save money when deciding on textbook costs. 

SDSU offers Equitable Access, a program where undergraduate students can access their required textbooks by the first day of class for $19.75 per course. The program provides digital course materials, and in some cases, students may be able to request a physical copy. 

While this program can be beneficial to students who have multiple classes that require textbooks, it may not be financially rewarding to pay $19.75 per unit if only one course requires a textbook. 

If unsure, always check the prices of textbooks on Equitable Access and shop using a website such as BookScouter — a price comparison website for textbooks. BookScouter can also be used to sell used textbooks. 

Equitable Access is applied to your tuition automatically. If you want to opt-out, you can do so on the SDSU Equitable Access webpage. Sept. 1 is the add/drop date for the fall 2023 semester.

If you “opt-out” of Equitable Access, its perks become inaccessible to other course materials in the program. Unlike the previous Immediate Access program, students cannot decide which classes they want to opt into due to the rental program.  

Another well-known option aside from Equitable Access is Chegg, an educational company that offers over 750,000 different textbook titles for rent or purchasing options. Chegg offers homework help and online tutoring. However, a subscription may be required to access certain services. 

Chegg also has a 21-day refund guarantee on physical textbooks and a 10-day refund guarantee for eTextbooks. This refund guarantee may be helpful if you notice that the material is unneeded for your class or if you accidentally ordered the wrong textbook.

Students can no longer turn to Amazon for their textbook rental needs as the e-commerce site discontinued the print textbook rentals program on April 1. 

According to a statement on Amazon’s website, customers have until Sept. 13 to extend or purchase textbooks. Even though the rental program is discontinued, students can purchase course materials from the e-commerce store.

Looking for your materials on Facebook Marketplace is another option. 

This website offers lower prices, but it might be challenging to find the specific books you need. If you’re purchasing an item from someone through Facebook Marketplace, be sure to use the official payment system embedded in the marketplace. Don’t engage with pushy sellers or those insistent on paying through third-party apps such as Venmo or CashApp.

When shopping for textbooks from other online sources, avoid sketchy websites. Strategies to identify untrustworthy websites include researching the website thoroughly on a search engine, social media or by reading customer reviews. 

Obtaining your degree can be an expensive endeavor, but by taking the time to research and shop around, textbooks can be one less big expense for your wallet. 

About the Contributors
Jennifer Aguilar
Jennifer Aguilar, '23-24 Mundo Azteca Editor
Jennifer Aguilar is a junior at San Diego State and a first-generation transfer student. She formerly attended San Diego Mesa College where she was the News Editor and the Editor-in-Chief of The Mesa Press. Her goal is to become a bilingual broadcast journalist for a news or entertainment outlet. She also enjoys filming and editing videos for her youtube channel with over 40k views (as of now).
Gabrielle Houser
Gabrielle Houser, '23-24 Graphics Editor