- Malia Spencer Reporter – Pittsburgh Business Times
There is nothing quite like the price of college text books to raise the ire of students (and parents).
Not only are they pricey, but when you sell them back at the end of the quarter/semester you rarely get anywhere close to what you pay.
Finding cheaper text books online isn’t new. I’ve been out of college for eight years and when I was in school, around 2000, sites were starting to pop up to address the problem. Read More
I recently explored the distressing trend of higher education devolving into an ultra-expensive job-training program rather than giving students the opportunity to discover what direction to set the course for their life’s journey.
This begged the million-dollar question of how to actually figure out what the destinations on that voyage should be.
It’s only a slight exaggeration – at an average price of $100,000 for a four-year degree, not including interest payments on student loans, “What are you studying?” and “What are you going to do once you graduate?” are perhaps the costliest, most frightening inquiries a college student fields.
As has always been the case, some students naturally and effortlessly get through college, and life, either by knowing the right people or by knowing how to get others to help unravel their mystery. Others luck into opportunities and work hard every step of the way until they’ve forged their own path. But no one teaches students exactly how to figure out the beginning of their careers for themselves.
Or so I thought until students at the University of Texas contacted me to share how their internships in the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) program there taught them how to find their calling. Read More
Does the price of textbooks have you down? Don’t worry; there are plenty of places to look for discounted books. Most parents know about and are concerned with the rising cost of college tuition, but many are caught off guard by the increasing cost of textbooks. Both The College Board and SimpleTuition calculated that the average amount spent on books per student each year is $1,137 and $1,112, respectively. And the high cost of books is beginning to affect even pre-college-age students. Some high schools require the purchase of textbooks not provided by their school systems.
Before you slash your vacation fund so you can afford textbooks for your kids, know that many educators and parents say you can find textbooks for less, if you know where to look.
“I’m a married-with-three-kids, medschool bound, third-year-undergraduate student, and books can be expensive!” says Samantha Van Vleet. “My first semester in college I couldn’t believe that I had just forked out $500 for just my books. For the price of books, I could have enrolled in another class. I searched around online and finally found a great site that I could use to buy and sell books. Bigwords.com is a search engine that searches several popular textbook sites and finds you the best prices. If you’re looking to buy a book, it will find you the cheapest one. If you’re looking to sell your book, it will find you the highest one. It’s a great resource, and I absolutely live by it. I don’t know how I’d afford school without it.”
Other sites recommended by educators and budget gurus include Half.com, TextbooksRus.com, Bookbyte.com and FirstClassBooks.com.
If you’re wary of shopping from sites with which you are not familiar, your trusted online booksellers may be your saving grace. Both Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com offer new and used textbooks for sale, with some sellers offering their used textbooks at steep discounts.
Amazon.com says its pricing often can save you 30 percent off new textbooks and 90 percent off used textbooks. Visit http://www.AmazonTextbook.com to begin your research.
If you have an e-reader, such as a Kindle, consider the option of textbooks in the form of e-books. The savings may add up. Parents and educators warn that you need to get permission from the child’s school to use an e-book. Some school systems require students to use print books.
At most college campuses, large numbers of used textbooks are for sale at discount pricing, but your student needs to assess whether he or she can adequately use a textbook that has been highlighted and marked up by a previous owner. Some students find that existing highlighting and notes distract them; they rather would work with a clean copy. That, of course, can be remedied by the student’s flipping through each used copy to find a less marked-up edition that suits his or her needs.
Another advised source of used textbooks and assigned novels is PaperBack- Swap.com, a free site on which you can post a number of your own used books, from textbooks to cookbooks to children’s books. When a member requests your book, you mail it to that person. Then the recipient marks your “receipt,” and you get one credit to shop for a book that another member will then mail to you. When you’re done with the book, you just list it back on your profile and wait for another member’s request. Read More
WASHINGTON — As the cost of textbooks continues to rise, many college students are choosing to skimp on textbooks to save money.
Seven out of 10 undergraduates surveyed at 13 college campuses said they had not purchased one or more textbooks because the cost was too high, according to a new survey released Thursday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The Government Accountability Office has estimated that textbooks cost a quarter the average tuition for state universities and three-fourths the average tuition at community colleges.
The U.S. PIRG analysis also found the price of textbooks has risen 22 percent over the past four years– a much faster rate than overall inflation. The rising prices come as student debt has soared record levels — exceeding total credit card debt in 2010.
“Generally what we get from students is ‘Yeah, it’s only a few dollars, but it could be my dinner,’ ” said Jessica Bruning, a student at Iowa State University who has worked with a school group to lobby the Iowa legislature on behalf of college students. “It adds up pretty quickly.”
In recent months, some student groups have joined Textbook Rebellion, a coalition supported by U.S. PIRG; Campus Progress, a subsidiary of liberal think tank Center for American Progress; and other organizations that seeks to address the rising cost of textbooks.
The survey, although not scientific, included 1,905 students from 13 college campuses, and found most of the students believed not having all their textbooks would adversely affect their grades. Read More
With the start of the college school year just around the corner, everyone is looking to save money. And with the average student spending more than $500 on books this fall, and another $500 in the spring, they need all the help they can get. Kelli Grant, Sr. Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, offers some ways to slash your textbook costs.
First, try renting your books instead of buying. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Chegg.com and other sites — even your college bookstore — now offer rental programs. Paying up front to borrow the book for a few months is often up to 80% cheaper than buying the text. Just be sure to check the fine print on highlighting and return deadlines to avoid exorbitant fees.
It’s also a good idea to consider going electronic. Digital textbooks can run as much as 50% cheaper than the print version, and you can often read them on your Kindle, iPad or other portable device. There are digital rental programs, too, with bigger savings. Do take the time to review your ability to take notes electronically or print pages, which some publishers restrict. Read More
No matter if your child attends a public university or a private university, we all agree that tuition costs are high. One way to offset the cost of tuition is to avoid spending your money on items that aren’t necessary for your student’s college success.
1. An Unlimited Meal Plan
Considering the generally mediocre food quality and limited options, dining hall meals are pricey enough. Avoid immediately purchasing the most expensive meal plan by first waiting to see how much your son or daughter uses each week. If he or she ends up needing more dining hall points, adjust the plan accordingly.
2. New Textbooks
A new textbook — or even a used one — often costs $100 or more. Turn to sites like CampusBookRentals.com or Chegg.com for the best deals on required textbooks. It’s often better to use these sites than a nearby campus used bookstore (since it’s often the only one close to campus, they get away with higher used book prices).
Unless your student’s printer comes free with the purchase of a new MacBook (another purchase you shouldn’t necessarily let your kid coax you into), go for a $10 flash drive instead. Your son or daughter can save his final papers, projects and homework on it, plug it in to a campus computer, and print it using one of the lab’s printers.
4. Top-Notch Laptop
Since he or she will constantly be using a laptop, it’s bound to suffer some bumps and bruises throughout four college years or more. One powerful, portable and affordable option is the Asus K50IJ-BBZ5 laptop. Available at Best Buy for $530, it has a 15.6-inch screen, weighs 5.8 pounds, and has 4 gigabytes of memory and a 320GB hard drive. Read More
A recent article on the blog GOOD.is reported that Florida passed a new law requiring all public schools in the state to make the switch to e-textbooks by the 2015-16 school year.
This move will require an investment of a few hundred dollars in a Kindle, Nook or iPad. As the article points out, the digital textbooks are only about $10 cheaper than their hardback counterparts. An article on the website of News Channel 5 states that Palm Beach County School District officials could not put a total cost on switching all of their students to digital devices, but that the cost would top $30 million.
Gary Weidenhamer, a school district educational technology director cited in the same article, said the district would need to expand its Internet infrastructure to provide hundreds of thousands of students Internet access at the same time in classrooms. Adding that bandwidth would cost at least $9.8 million, according to Information Technology Director Deepak Agarwal. Despite an initial investment, there are several long-term benefits to making this transition. Read More
By Adriana Pinegar
The start of a semester can mean a new apartment, a new schedule and a new book list, which can put a significant dent in any student’s meager bank account.
The founders of SwoopThat.com are seeking to soften that blow dealt to students’ wallets. The new website helps students find the lowest prices on textbooks by providing price comparisons. The service is free, and according to a news release, students from more than 145 colleges and universities will be able to find price comparisons for all required reading materials.
“Our goal is to increase price transparency for students through a time-efficient process, showing them every available option for their books, including free digital textbooks and letting them decide where to go from there,” said Jonathan Simpkin, co-founder of SwoopThat.
The price of textbooks is a burden for many students. According to the Government Accountability Office, textbook prices have risen at double the rate of inflation. In a recent study, Lynn O’Shaugnessey, author of the blog The College Solution, found students spend on average $760 a year on textbooks.
“College textbooks are ridiculously expensive, and one reason why they’re expensive is because textbook publishers really only have one shot at kids,” O’Shaughnessy said in a report by Phoenix’s Fox10. “So what publishers tend to do, because they only have one shot at kids, is they keep putting out new editions so they can get more money.”
Some students, like Chelsey Frost, a sophomore at UVU, have tried to find ways around the soaring prices of books.
“It’s pretty rare that I buy a textbook, only if I know that I absolutely need it,” Frost said. “And that tends to happen at some point in the middle of the semester.”
Alex Vaughn, a junior from Las Vegas, also avoids buying textbooks if the price tag is too high.
“I sometimes find the textbook at the library if I have to, or borrow from a classmate,” she said. “One time I went to the Bookstore, found the book I needed, sat and did an assignment, but then got kicked out. Apparently that’s not allowed.”
Other students have come to accept that buying books is part of college.
“I think of it as a sunk cost,” said Clay Wilkes, a junior majoring in Spanish. “While I’m here at college, I might as well buy the books.”
Craig Whitaker, an economics student, also views textbook costs as unavoidable. Read More