One Way to Bring Down the High Cost of College

At all but a few colleges where the leadership keeps costs to a minimum for students (and taxpayers, if it’s a state-run institution), attendance costs much more than it needs to. Fortunately, there are some ways for students to reduce the cost if they’re savvy. One of them is to economize on textbooks.

In today’s Martin Center article, Megan Zogby explains how to minimize that expense.

Do you have to buy your books at the campus bookstore? No, and if you look around online, you’ll probably find much better prices.

Zogby writes, “The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that students are highly motivated to find alternatives to new editions of textbooks because they are so expensive. A survey published by the National Association of College Stores (NACS) found that students spent an average of $484 on required course materials in 2017-2018. That figure is lower than the $701 students spent in 2007-2008, but the decline isn’t from textbooks getting cheaper. Instead, the internet has fundamentally altered how students buy their books.”

And a few schools are trying to cut book costs. Among them is NC State. Zogby notes that NCSU “is experimenting with providing free materials to substitute for traditional textbooks. As of 2019, NC State partnered with Rice University’s OpenStax, the largest provider of free Open Educational Resources (OERs), to drive down textbook costs for students. OERs are ‘teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium — digital or otherwise — that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.’”

So if you think you really must get a college degree, keep the cost down in every way you can, including textbooks.

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