The High Price of College Textbooks: What are Universities Doing About It?

college-textbooksThe rising costs of textbooks have been a ceaseless burden for college students, with not a sign of steadying. In a report released earlier this week, the advocacy group US PIRG  found in a survey that 65 percent of college students had at one point opted out of buying a college textbook due to the price. According to College Board, students spend an average of $1,200 on books and supplies each academic year. Student PIRGs’ Make Textbooks Affordable campaign calls for the wider use of open-source textbooks as a solution.

Textbooks [of all things] shouldn’t have to be a college student’s sworn enemy. Renting books, buying older editions, and sharing with friends are a few ways students have gotten past the sticker shock. But what are campus bookstore’s currently doing about this issue? Their solution could be a major factor in your college decision. Find out how the following universities have made purchasing textbooks more affordable for students:

Kansas State University
Beginning with its textbook awareness campaign back in 2007, Kansas State University encouraged early decision making for textbook choices and established an online textbook listing website. KSU continues to stay ahead by offering used, rentals, and electronic textbooks. The campus bookstore even offers an online tool for easy textbook price comparison across other online retailers!

University of Arkansas
Over the past several years, the University of Arkansas Bookstore has focused on a number of initiatives to keep the cost of textbooks down by including early textbook adoptions, used textbook availability, discount pricing, student textbook exchanges, and electronic textbooks.  Now students can take advantage of the bookstore’s Buyback Database, which allows students to search their database at anytime to determine the possible Textbook Buyback price.

University of California, Davis (UC Davis) 
With a bookstore that ranks among the top in the nation in affordability, UC Davis’ place on this list comes as no surprise. The academic departments and bookstore communicate regularly to make sure book orders are received quickly to maximize the supply of used textbooks and make certain that buyback prices are as high as possible. The bookstore offers year-round textbook buybacks and  a buyback price lookup.

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
The UCLA bookstore proactively collects textbook requests from faculty members, offers rental, used, and digital textbooks and guaranteed buybacks. They also offer to price match – if you find a textbook with a lower price at another store or online, they’ll match it!

UCLA students can also apply for the USAC Scholarship, a $200 textbook scholarship. The UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) gives away about 50 textbook scholarships each quarter. The program started in 2008 and as of recently, undocumented students are now eligible to apply.

University of Virginia (UVA)
The UVA bookstore combats expensive textbooks in multiple ways. The bookstores provides as many used textbooks as possible, textbook rentals, and eBooks. The UVA bookstore was one of the first to offer students an e-textbook option, Jumpbooks. With this option, students can read content online and download sections to be read offline on a laptop, mobile, or tablet device!




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