Should students have to buy textbooks?

As textbook prices rise, students go further into more debt

A defining characteristic of college is textbooks. They always have been and still are an essential component of a college education. You will be expected to purchase a variety of books that you will use throughout the course duration as soon as you walk into the first lesson of your various classes. The majority of people are aware that the expense of attending college increases each year, yet even high tuition fees do not cover the rising cost of college textbooks. So, the burning question is, should students have to pay for them out of pocket?

According to recent College Board studies, during the 2020–21 fiscal year, individuals at four-year colleges spent an average of $1,240 for textbooks and $1,460 at two-year institutions. This amounts to around five to eight percent of the estimated annual expense of going to college. 

The cost of literature and access codes ought to be the least of college students’ concerns when they are already paying so much in fees. Seven out of ten students, based on a survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, do not buy books because of the high costs which in the long run deters the educational environment. 

Schools of higher education should recognize the financial hardships many students encounter as well as the additional costs they already have to pay. Being free of the burden of having to pay for extra materials on top of their education, may offer students freedom to concentrate on earning their diplomas. Many students feel colleges should fully finance student resources or at the very least lower the cost.

“I feel that required textbooks should be included with tuition because that’s our main source of information. For optional textbooks, students should have to pay since they aren’t  actually necessary,” Cobie Guillen, a junior education major, said.

A different option to look into is to stop using textbooks altogether. Given that certain people learn quicker through participation and open conversation, this may even be a more effective teaching strategy for them. This would also eliminate any uncertainty over the texts that will actually be used, as institutions would not squander their money on something superfluous. If institutions can offer students a gym and health facility for little to no cost, then giving necessary class materials should be standardized in the same way. There are numerous ways to fix this problem, but the most essential thing is that we begin looking into these solutions.