The march toward free textbooks


It is no question that a lot of college students are stretched for funds.

Between being unqualified for most jobs that pay more than minimum wage and the costs of tuition rising, students are strapped for cash without having to think about purchasing textbooks.

Considering how much universities are charging for tuition, the least they could do is provide free textbooks.

Members of the class of 2015 graduated with an average of $35,051 in student debt, according to the Market Watch article “Class of 2015 has the most student debt in U.S. history” by Jillian Berman.

Depending on the major, classes being taken and the professor who is choosing the books, a student’s textbooks can end up costing hundreds of dollars.

To avoid the outrageous textbook prices, a lot of students are looking to sites like Chegg, TextbookRush and Amazon to rent their books. Although rental sites like those are a great way for students to receive their product and save money, the return policy hinders students from utilizing valuable information found in their textbooks later.

On multiple occasions, I have found myself looking for information I knew was in a textbook from a previous class and ended up not finding it because I had rented and returned the textbook.

I find this to be the main problem behind the high prices of textbooks: having to rent and return to save money.

An NBC article, titled “College textbook prices have risen 1,041 percent since 1977,” reviewed Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that textbook prices have risen more than three times over the rate of inflation from January 1977 to June 2015.

That number is ridiculous.

Why do our professors require us to purchase textbooks at such ridiculous prices when they were clearly not forking up as much cash as they expect us to?

In order to ease the financial burden from students and allow professors to tailor their materials to their class, I propose that professors provide materials to students in the form of printouts, handouts or free textbook websites.

Textbooks are only as good as the teacher who is using it, according to a Teacher Vision article titled “Textbooks: Advantages and Disadvantages.”

That statement is so true. Sometimes students are forced to buy a $200 textbook and the inside of it never even sees the light of day.

The textbook business must be a great moneymaker, profiting off of vulnerable, broke students. They are leeches sucking students dry.

So instead of letting textbook companies take advantage of students, colleges should be influencing instructors to provide more free resources to students tailored to their classes.