This is the time during the semester when most students have developed a strong idea of which classes they undoubtedly need the textbook for in order to pass and which classes they can manage to get through without the overpriced textbook.
Most college students are simply trying to make the most of their limited finances. Scholarships, financial aid and student loans can only do so much to help college students when textbook prices are soaring.
The distant memory of free textbooks in high school raises the following question: Why aren’t textbook rentals free in college as well? Applying the high school textbook concept to community colleges and public universities across the nation would benefit millions of students.
Arletys Gomez, a junior political science major, believes that making textbooks free for college students will help lessen the financial burden that students are confronted with during their pursuit of higher education.
“Although college textbooks are very useful in some classes, they are not in all classes, as I have bought very expensive textbooks in which I passed the class without ever really opening it,” Gomez said. “If we had the option to rent textbooks for free from FGCU, that would be such an amazing opportunity for students, especially college students who are on a strict budget like myself.”
It’s no surprise that textbook publishers are taking advantage of college students, because the prices of most textbooks are outrageous.
College students already pay thousands of dollars in tuition each year, and in addition to that enormous expense, students pay hundreds of dollars to purchase textbooks for their courses.
College textbooks should be free through a rental system that allows students to borrow the books for a full semester. As long as the student returns the textbooks in good condition, the student does not have to pay a penny.
If the student does not return the book at the end of the semester by the specified due date, the student will be subject to late fees. The concept is similar to borrowing books from a public library or renting textbooks in high school.
Borrowing books would be tremendously helpful to college students. College students would just need to write notes on a separate piece of paper and refrain from highlighting or marking in the book.
I am a strong proponent of President Obama’s proposal to provide free tuition in order to offer low-income students the opportunity to earn a college degree.
Obama made several comments about college students and the education system during his 2015 State of the Union address.
“I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today,” Obama said.
Tuition is no longer the only obstacle when it comes to getting a higher education, because college textbook prices have risen dramatically over the past few decades.
Textbook publishers are able to charge whatever price they want because college students are trapped consumers who have to buy the textbooks they are instructed to purchase by their professors.
Online materials and digital textbook services are growing in popularity. PDFs might soon become the only textbooks that students use, but until then, a free rental program is what college students need.
It is imperative that a program is put in place to make college textbook rentals free nationwide in community colleges and public universities, including FGCU. This will help all students, not only low-income students, on their journey through higher education.