The outrageous price that college students have to pay for textbooks has been a burden for decades, but never before has the cost of textbooks been as painfully high as it is today. It is a growing concern that there are an ever-increasing number of students that have to go without their required course text because they can simply no longer afford the textbook’s rising costs. Now is the time in which the higher education community must take bold new steps to combat this issue and that is exactly what the Minnesota State College Student Association is working towards, textbook affordability!
Everyone knows that the cost of textbooks has been going up alongside the rising cost of college tuition in the nation, but how fast is it rising? Well, crazy fast! In fact, a 2015 NBC article reports the raise to be over 1000% since 1997! That’s about three times the cost of inflation! Couple that with the rising cost of tuition around the country, and it’s really no wonder why our future continues to be shackled in debt.
Real Effects on Students Success
The worst part about these overpriced textbooks is the very real effects it has on whether a student can succeed in higher education. Over 66% of students have gone to class without their required textbook and 23% of students regularly go without because of cost. 10% of students have withdrawn from a course, 31% choose not to register for a course, 35% take fewer courses, and 14% have dropped a course, all of which was due to textbook cost!
Bold New Action
Textbook affordability is a big issue, and now people all over the country are really starting to tackle it head-on. In the U.S. Senate, Senator Al Franken co-sponsored legislation to address textbook affordability using Open Textbooks and many states are or already have presented their own Open Textbook legislation. The Open Textbook Network, a network of over 100 active members from all over the country, are promoting awareness of Open Textbook and providing workshops for faculty who are interested in learning about and using them. New models and technologies such as Open Textbooks are just one action of many that can help address the blight of textbook costs on students.
What You Can Do
The issue of textbook affordability is one that will take the entire higher education community to address and MSCSA is dedicated in making textbooks affordable for every student. If textbook affordability is important to you, find out who represents you in the state legislature and send them an email telling them your care about textbook affordability.