Letter to the Editor: The Real Cost of Textbooks

High textbook prices are a frustrating addition to college students’ stress every semester. The expectation that students pay hundreds of dollars per semester for required textbooks in certain classes is unreasonable, especially in a school where tuition is so high on its own. According to a report by the Student PIRGs, textbook prices have increased over four times the rate of inflation over the past decade, and the College Board estimates that the average college student should plan to spend $1,200 per year on textbooks. These high costs can prevent students from taking certain classes or from having access to resources meant to help them in their academic careers.

With the rise of technology use in classrooms, access codes have added to this cost issue. Instead of having the option to buy a used book, students are forced to pay for these expensive access codes for homework assignments and quizzes, which can sometimes be bundled with unnecessary materials as well.

At the same time, technological developments can benefit students by providing access to online resources that can help save students money. Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials that are of comparable quality to traditional textbooks and are freely accessible for all students and have already saved students millions of dollars. At Trinity, some faculty members have already started using OER materials by taking advantage of a grant program designed to help professors make the switch to more affordable textbooks and online resources.

This week is Open Education week; ConnPIRG  is teaming up with the Trinity library to mark the occasion by helping to spread awareness for open educational resources on campus. We will have a photo petition campaign and a student engagement board posted in Mather (look out for posters across campus). 

-Emiko Saso ’23

(518) 641-8011


Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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