Insights from Literature Review
College students are squeezed by a variety of financial pressures, college tuition and fees, living expenses, and course material like textbooks. Students are borrowing more than ever before.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, over a period of 2006-2016, college tuition has increased by 62% while textbook prices have increased by 88%!
Students are spending ~$500 on textbooks annually.
Why not switch to digital sources?
Students overwhelmingly continue to rely on purchased materials, as 83% purchased at least one unit during the 2017-18 academic term. In a research study conducted in 2015, 57.4% of students surveyed indicated that they preferred print textbooks over digital versions.
According to the National Association of College Stores(NACS), when purchasing course materials, 63% of students reported buying new print, 56% bought used print, and 25% bought digital.
Due to increasing costs, students are finding alternative free means to get their hands on material. Nearly 20% of students managed to obtain free course material.
What students have to say
" They expect us to then have all of these books immediately, I don’t think that’s necessarily fair, especially for low-income students. "
" I’ve definitely split three ways with two other people and we just shared a textbook because it was cheaper for us to do that. "
" I can't afford these expensive books that I feel will never be opened in class. Looking for alternatives is my only option now and takes up quite a bit of time. "