Colleges Trimming Textbook Costs

Compiled By Yaffa Klugerman
January 4, 2010

Colleges and universities are increasingly launching new programs allowing students to cut down on the skyrocketing cost of purchasing textbooks.

The Dallas Morning News reports that students at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas can now rent textbooks through their campus bookstore. At UTA, over 4,000 students rented more than 6,000 books this fall, allowing them to pay, for example, $42.50 per semester for a textbook that would typically cost $100 new. Students may highlight and write in the books, but are required to return them in good condition on time.

Some professors and colleges are even taking advantage of free online textbooks for courses. At Cedar Valley College, for example, students taking a business course use a free eBook through a company called Flat World Knowledge.

"I found the book to be extremely thorough, covering material in much greater depth and detail than current books on the market," noted Diane Minger, the professor who teaches the course, who was quoted in the Dallas Morning News. "So far, I'm getting good comments from students."

Textbook rental programs are becoming popular in various schools in California. The Oakland Tribune reports that Chabot College will launch a textbook rental program this month, allowing students to save about 60 to 70 percent of new book prices. The program is being funded by a grant of $299,075, which will cover textbooks for 29 courses over two years.

"Our goal is to help make college affordable for Chabot students by removing barriers to student access and success," said Kathleen Kaser, who manages the school's book store and was quoted by the Tribune. "The high cost of textbooks represents the biggest expense for Chabot students."

Similarly, The Desert Sun [from an article originally located at] reports that the College of the Desert will start a textbook rental program in the spring semester for about 60 titles. The program is expected to be expanded to 200 titles by fall.

"The cost of textbooks is a huge concern everywhere," noted Dean Goetz, the school's book store manager, who was quoted in the Sun, "but particularly it seems in California, where we're just being hit by everything."

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