The Cost of College
Since 1980, college tuition has climbed at 260 percent the rate of inflation, which is absurd. Textbook prices have climbed at an annual rate of 812 percent since then as well. On average, students pay $200-$400 for textbooks per academic period, meaning students can pay over $1,000 for textbooks per year.
Students have worked hard to find ways to spend less money on their textbooks, whether it’s through second-hand books, library copies, renting, or sharing with roommates. Unfortunately, content providers are also working hard, but in the opposition of the students by creating access codes and other paywalls for the textbooks.
Additional fees that come after the tuition have been draining students’ bank accounts, by making them pay for every ounce of education they seek.
Open textbooks, which are free to read, inexpensive to print, and of good quality, are what the students need. They are written under an open license, which means they can be shared endlessly among classrooms.
UMass Amherst and Salem State University have saved millions of dollars by creating grant programs for professors to create open textbooks. In addition, both schools saw an increase in performance and completion rates in classes that were using open textbooks, given students were not overwhelmed by paywalls when they got their textbooks.
Finally, it is feasible to reduce the financial burden that textbooks place on students; all that is required is implementation.