The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Textbook prices soar above reason

By Randalynne Dorsey/entertainment editor

   Many things seem to be working against college students. We never have enough time, our teachers are evil, and tests are hard. But most students worry about money.
   Granted, we attend a community college where semester tuition isn’t so outrageous that it’ll put a dent in our bank accounts. But many students worry about the rising cost of textbooks.
   My Spanish book costs as much as a friend pays in rent each month for an apartment she shares with two roommates. With the other textbooks I bought, my bill came to a whopping $322.
   I can’t complain, though. I receive financial aid since I take more than 12 hours, and my tuition and books are paid for. But I can empathize with those who worry about paying for their books.
   Many students do simple math. If the book seems too expensive, it most likely is, so they go without it. They hope the professor covers exam material in class and rely on their notes. A survey by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found that 40 percent of students will do without textbooks.
   Many texts are available only as new books because they come with CD-ROMs or study guides. My Spanish textbook came with a dictionary and CDs I can listen to as I sit at red lights.
   But some colleges are working around the rising costs. The Virginia study found that the colleges surveyed supported used-book buyback programs. Some have even taken it one step further.
   The University of Virginia at Wise offers a payment plan program, so students aren’t shelling out the entire cost at once.
   Maryland has created a textbook consortium in hopes of getting books more cheaply by buying them in bulk.
   Books that cost $100-$200 each seem steep for college students. We don’t have much choice, but Web sites such as Amazon.com make the textbook-buying process a little easier by selling books up to half of the normal, college bookstore cost. Online, my Spanish text costs about $39 less than the campus bookstore.
   Maybe colleges should help more. Some classes don’t really need the newest editions. How many times do the rules of calculus change?
   According to Bruce Hildebrand of the Association of American Publishers, professors choose their books. They can choose to assign the text with online tutoring and CDs or the simple text.
   How many times have you used your online tutoring that came with the book? I know I haven’t.

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