Planning for college does involve a number of things but one thing that we always seem to think about is the cost. Although some colleges are trying to decrease this burden by offering free tuition, this nice gesture is only available to a handful of students. The cost of getting a bachelor’s degree in the US is very high and there’s no sign that it could drop anytime soon. If anything, the cost has been on the rise over the last few years. With the student debt now standing above $1.5 trillion, it has never been more expensive to get a college degree.
In addition to the tuition fees, there are other payments too that are needed in college. We are talking about accommodation, meals, and other school supplies. But supplies don’t cost the same and textbooks seem to be taking the biggest share of the budget for this. Textbooks average about $203 per book. This represents an 800% increase over the last 40 years. Students are going at extra lengths to save money for textbooks. Some are skipping meals just to make sure they have enough money left to buy the books they need while others are taking fewer classes just to afford course materials. In order to solve this issue, a number of solutions have been proposed.
Digital Streaming Services
Course materials will vary from course to course. This means that most of the time students will need certain books for a short period of time before they move to the next semester. A sort of streaming service for textbooks could give them access to the books they need for a flat subscription fee. This would save students a lot of money.
Starting a Dialogue Between the Faculty and Students
There’s, of course, a lot that can be done by the faculty to help students have access to cheaper textbooks in each semester. But so far we haven’t seen a lot of innovation on this issue. It all starts with dialogue. Faculty and students need to start having conversations about the steep cost of accessing course materials and highlight how this challenge could affect quality education in colleges. This may push universities to take concrete steps to help subsidize the costs for students.
In addition to these two solutions above, there are other simpler ways that can help. For instance, students should be encouraged to buy used textbooks that are cheaper compared to new ones. The option of renting books is also there. This would allow everyone to get a book for a set duration of time for a smaller fee than the real actual cost of buying it. Another good way is for students to raise money for new textbooks by selling old ones online. Some barter trade where students exchange books may come in handy. An online platform that allows people in need of book exchanges to get leads can be created in order to facilitate this.