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Rising Cost Of College Textbooks Essay

2275 words - 9 pages

Ask any college student to state one of their largest expenses and it would be safe to bet the response would be “Textbook prices!” The cost of purchasing required materials for courses has reached numbers high enough to cause many students to take out second loans. Information released this year by the American Enterprise Institute shows that “College textbook prices have increased faster than tuition, health care costs and housing prices, all of which have risen faster than inflation” (Kingkade, 2013). This information equates to an 812% increase in the cost of college textbooks over what they were just over thirty years ago (Kingkade, 2013). The figure here shows an unusually large increase that has far outpaced that of average inflation. Combine this information with the equally troubling information released by Bloomberg stating “college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978” and a serious financial problem for students emerges(Huffington Post, 2012). One thing should be clear given these statistics: something must be done to help lessen the financial burden being placed on today’s students. Considering the implications of these two figures, the University of Delaware should attempt to remedy the increasing cost of textbooks as soon as possible before they overwhelm students any more than they already have. In order to help reduce these runaway costs, this institution should pursue a policy similar to those high schools and elementary schools practice, namely a sort of loan program.
In order to best understand why implementing such a loan program would be most beneficial to the students one must understand why textbook prices have spiraled out of control. The problem lies with textbook publishing companies. These companies have a metaphorical stranglehold on the textbook business, and they constantly fight to keep it that way. Nicole Allen, a program director for the Scholarly Publishing Academic Resources Coalition, an alliance of academic libraries gets top the root of the issue in her explanation as to how publishers have been able to continually increase textbook prices. She points out the students "have to buy whatever textbook they've been assigned” (Schick & Marklein, 2013). Even worse, in an attempt to fight back against the used book market, publishers have begun “equipping [textbooks] with one-use codes needed for access to additional course material online” as well as “creating custom editions for specific professors or universities, limiting the resale market for the books” (Mui & Kinzie, 2008). One such example of custom packaged editions can be found at the University of Delaware. This university offers a course titled “BISC 105 - Human Heredity and Development.” Being a one hundred level course, BISC 105 stands as an attractive option for many freshmen looking for introductory level courses. According to the University of Delaware’s bookstore website, the required textbook for this course...

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