Profs should consider textbook costs

editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff
editorial cartoon by Jacob Bogdanoff

When a new semester starts students often excitedly read their syllabi for the upcoming classes.

Then to their dismay, they realize there is a list of books they need to buy – with some books costing up to $300 a piece.

It is not uncommon for professors to list required textbooks on the syllabus that end up being used for only a few assignments, and it is frustrating to students who spend hundreds of dollars on them.

Many college students are struggling financially, even while juggling multiple jobs as a full-time student due to the high costs of tuition and the additional tuition hikes every year.

Adding additional expensive textbooks to their expenses is going to make the situation worse, but students still buy the textbooks because they are requirements for their classes, or so they thought.

Often times, professors also require students to purchase the latest edition of a textbook when there are alternative editions that cost significantly less.

A brand new 2016 textbook without any available used copies may cost a few hundred, while a used copy of the 2012 edition of the same textbook may cost only $30.

At 10 percent of the $300 price tag, students can easily afford the textbook, and the content of many subjects’ textbooks do not change over the course of a few years.

While it is understandable that classes on current social issues or technological subjects would be regularly updated, making the latest edition necessary, learning calculus or Colonial American history from a 2012 textbook is not going to be detrimental to a student’s academic success.

As the process continues every semester, many upperclassmen stop purchasing textbooks completely, but this becomes problematic when they discover that they actually need the textbooks.

Ordering the textbooks and waiting for them to arrive may take weeks, and students could end up falling behind with assignments and performing poorly on exams.

If professors would consider students’ financial realities and only require the newest edition of textbooks if it is essential, then everyone would win.

Students would be able to succeed in their classes without going broke, and professors would probably have a better time too, knowing that everyone has the book in hand and is able to get the required reading done.

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