70 Percent of College Students Have Forgone Textbooks Because of Price

Most also say they do worse in classes without them

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Last week we reported that college tuition has increased at a faster rate than the prices of many other broad categories of goods and services Americans consume, including housing, healthcare, and energy. There are, of course, many other costs to attending college not in a school's sticker price--not the least of which is the cost of textbooks. Those, it turns out, ain't so cheap either.

A new survey says that 70 percent of college students have at least once in the past decided not to buy a textbook for a class because it cost too much. More than three-fourths of students say they expect that not having their own textbooks will hurt their performance in the classroom. A majority of respondents also report that "common textbook-publishing practices" that inflate the price of books, as The Chronicle of Higher Education puts it, are factors in their decision to purchase a text. These include frequently putting out new editions and pairing books with extra items students don't want. And for a final sobering statistic: these textbook prices are not negligible relative to tuition. According to The Chronicle, a student at a state college can expect to pay an additional 26 percent of whatever tuition is for textbooks. At community colleges, that figure's 72 percent.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.