Education News

Survey Finds Texas College Students Will Opt Out Of Buying Textbooks Because Of High Cost

Over the last decade, prices for college textbooks have increased by more than 80 percent. Now a college student can easily spend more than a thousand dollars on books and supplies. That cost forces some students here in Houston to make a difficult decision.


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Last semester, senior Crystal Sowemimo took six classes at the University of Houston.

It wasn’t just a heavy course load. It was also expensive. She paid about $500 for all her books.

“Which is pretty extreme. I don’t feel that I should be paying that much for something that I’m probably only going to be using once, which is during that, you know, course.”

But some students will see the high price tag and then skip the book or the course completely.

That’s according to a new survey from the consumer advocacy group TexPIRG Education Fund.

It found 65 percent of student consumers will opt out of buying a college textbook because of the high cost.

Sowemimo says it’s happened to some of friends at UH.

“Sometimes they won’t take the course. Or sometimes they will take the course because they need it and they have to just risk damaging their grade if they’re not getting the entire information because they don’t have the book. So that what it means by opting out.”

Sowemimo says a better solution is for colleges and lawmakers to give students more alternatives — like textbooks that are online and free.

This week students at UH are sending that message to their representatives in Congress. They’re sending them pictures on Twitter with the hashtag “textbookbroke.”

Read the full survey on the college textbook market from TexPIRG Education Fund here.

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