Despite the transition to online instruction, certain classes are still requiring students to obtain textbooks, some of which can be bought or rented at the Cal State Fullerton Titan Shops.
During an average school year, full-time undergraduate students typically pay around $1,240 for books and supplies. Given that this school year is anything but ordinary, with most classes held online and students experiencing additional financial barriers, textbook prices need to be alleviated.
From 2006-16, the prices of textbooks have increased by 88%. Some online publishers, including Elton B. Stephens Company, better known as Ebsco, and Booklist, have realized this need for more widely accessible materials. The companies have offered free content for all to utilize during the pandemic. Yet, not all textbook publishers have felt the need to expand their readership.
Unfortunately, textbook prices have not been lowered through online shops and bookstores, including Titan Shops. Prices are set by the textbook’s publisher, meaning there will not be a change in the prices unless made by the publishing companies.
While Titan Shops does offer free immediate access to available textbooks at the beginning of the semester, students must pay for the course materials by the add or drop deadline just over two weeks later, unless they choose to opt-out.
The hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic have greatly affected many students. To ease this ongoing burden, college textbooks need to reduce costs and become more accessible for students through all purchasing mediums.
During these difficult times, buying or renting textbooks should not cost more than $100, as students continue to struggle from losing their jobs to similar obstacles.
Some college students have to pay for their textbooks out of pocket. There have been many stores and restaurants that were forced to let go some, or even most, of its employees in order to avoid going out of business.
In July, the population of 16-year-olds to 24-year-olds either employed, temporarily laid off or receiving unemployment benefits made up about 57% of all youth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the lowest recorded labor force population for the month since 1948.
Some students have been able to collect unemployment benefits, but they won’t last forever. Benefits are provided for 46 weeks until Dec. 26, 2020, according to the California Employment Development Department. As the spring semester approaches, college students primarily depending on unemployment could face more financial struggles.
Undoubtedly, some college students’ families are also struggling to maintain steady incomes. This makes college prices like tuition and textbooks even more difficult to afford as parents are unable to assist due to increased job loss.
In the worst case, the steady increase of textbook prices could lead to some college students foregoing their education entirely. Not all college students can afford to go to school, and textbook costs on top of every other school-related fee don’t help.
Lowering the price of textbooks at local college bookstores like the Titan Shops and online stores could relieve students’ money woes. If publishers and textbook distributors recognize how its costs affect students, offering more affordable prices to buy or rent textbooks can greatly benefit the student population.
To alleviate these issues, there needs to be better communication between bookstores and book publishers to establish a happy medium.
A student’s education should never be compromised because materials for their success are out of reach. By establishing lower prices among bookstores and figuring out ways that students can access books without sacrificing their grades, online education can become even more efficient.