New Student PIRGs Survey Confirms High Textbook Costs Impact Course Selection and Student Success

If you’re not aware of the work of the U.S. PIRG Education Fund & The Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups), you should be.  Among other initiatives, they focus efforts on making higher education more affordable.

They’ve recently released a new study on the textbook market and the rising impact of cost to students.

I’ve included a link to their study below, but here are a few of the items in the report that jumped out to me:

  • The cost of textbook and course materials continues to rise; the average student today spends up to $1,200 per year.
  • High textbook costs impact a student’s decision on whether or not to purchase textbooks for a course. Sixty-five percent of all students decide to not to buy a textbook for at least one of their courses.  This decision will also play into their academic preparedness and success.
  • Just as troubling, nearly 50% of the students surveyed indicated that textbook costs influence which and how many courses they take.
  • Used textbook and rental purchases help mitigate costs, but the proliferation of new editions drive up pricing for these solutions as well.
  • There continues to be strong student interest in utilizing Open Education Resources/Textbooks for their courses via electronic access with optional print purchase, as they can potentially save a student $100 per course.  In an effort to make OER materials more widespread, the study includes a call to action for faculty to consider the use of OERs for their courses.

These are just some of the key findings in the recent Student PIRGs report.  I urge you to read it for yourself and share your thoughts with me. The full report can be found at: http://studentpirgs.org/reports/sp/fixing-broken-textbook-market

You can also check out our recent survey of college presidents, provosts, and chief academic officers to see how institutional textbook affordability initiatives positively impact student retention, persistence and satisfaction. This report can be found under White Papers on our Resources page.

 

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