Soaring Textbook Prices

Soaring Textbook Prices

Textbook Prices

Every fall students all over the country will flock to their respective colleges, enroll in courses, pick up their syllabi, walk over the bookstore and freak out at the prices of the required textbooks. No kids, those aren’t typos. Your physics textbook really does run $350 and yes, you are paying more than when you started just four years ago.

This week’s chart, brought to us by the American Enterprise Institute, shows the rapid rise in textbook costs relative to inflation and, super bonus, to books in general. Textbook costs have risen substantially faster than general inflation, home prices, and medical care. And this in a world where Amazon regularly slashes the prices of popular titles… traditional publishing books have actually decreased in price over the years.

As the AEI full article points out, with average textbook prices for some disciplines in the range of $250 and with several books required each semester, this can add thousands and thousands of dollars to the cost of one’s college tally. Nobody will deny that students are getting ripped off, but what to do about it? How do we work these costs into our plans? Can these costs be combatted? We have given you some great tips, which you can find by clicking “books” in the categories column to your right.


Addressing Textbook Pain (3 of 3)

Addressing Textbook Pain (3 of 3)

Vector concept of investment in education with coins books and scales

Note: This is the third installment of a 3-part series of tips on how to mitigate the ever-rising costs of college textbooks. See also posts 1 and 2 on this topic. 

Let’s address three strategies for your textbook woes that don’t actually require you to buy any textbooks to get the job done. These may not come into play as often, but if they do you’ll be glad you tried. Continue reading Addressing Textbook Pain (3 of 3)

Addressing Textbook Pain (1 of 3)

Addressing Textbook Pain (1 of 3)

artwork in retro style, girl in the library, sleeping

How to address the ever rising costs of textbooks? Getting your textbook purchases wrong can severely punish your bottom line, but how do we get it right in this era of multi-digit prices? Today let’s look at three of the more typical sources of textbook procurement. In the next two posts we will then explore some more creative ways to get it done.

On Campus Bookstore

So you got your syllabus. On it are a list of books your professor wants you to read. The tempting thing to do would be to stroll over to your campus bookstore where you can be assured said textbooks can be found. However, while convenient, I would highly encourage you to not simply grab your book lists and stroll over to the campus bookstore to pay whatever the price tag says.

In fact, if at all possible, I’d recommend avoiding the campus bookstore altogether. Treat it not as your first resort but your last. There, with rare exception, you will find the best chances for finding the books you need but at the highest prices going. Fortunately, this is a feat more and more possible as other avenues become available through the Internet. Let’s explore a few of these options available to you before you put even more money into your college’s coffers. Continue reading Addressing Textbook Pain (1 of 3)

Certifications for Better Employment

Certifications for Employment

certified grunge retro red isolated ribbon stamp

When I ask students why they want to go to college, the number one response I hear, hands down, is “to get a good job” or “to qualify for a career.” We fear getting stuck in the dead end workforce right out of high school. We often seek higher education for reasons of employ-ability; specifically, a better crack at a good paying white collar sort of job. That’s the way to go, right? Continue reading Certifications for Better Employment

Chart: 20 Years of Tuition Increases

Chart: 20 Years of Tuition Increases

tuition cost growth

For those of you who have missed out on the obvious, tuition has risen precipitously since the mid-70s and this rise hasn’t abated one bit in the past 20 years. As this chart from US News and World Report shows, tuition costs have about tripled since 1995 across the board, whether we look at state or private schools.

Back in 1995, when I first started college, one could all but get a degree for about what a single year of classes costs today. No wonder the parents of today’s students, who in their time were able to enroll and figure things out as they went along, panic when the full ramifications of these cost increases sink in. At these prices, making a mistake, dropping out, changing majors, or getting a degree with little marketplace value is no longer merely a slightly embarrassing thing. It can lead to financial ruin.

To say the least, one must prepare well ahead of time to address this level of expense if one has any shot at succeeding. As the old adage says, failing to plan is planning to fail. Nowhere has it been more true than in today’s college environment.