I believe that the textbooks we are required to have for our classes should be less expensive. Students already have to spend a considerable amount of money on necessities such as other school materials, groceries, etc. If textbooks were less expensive, or even included in our tuition fees, more students would be willing to purchase them.

Every year, I find myself spending copious amounts of money on textbooks for my classes. I’m fortunate enough to have my parents help with the costs, but I also know many students who have to cover the full price themselves. And these textbooks are not cheap, each one usually costing between $50 to $150, with the exception of a few costing more or less. Some classes even require its students to purchase more than one textbook. This means that someone who is taking five classes could end up spending up to $500 or more on their books.

With prices like this, it’s no wonder some students choose to opt out of buying textbooks for their classes altogether. Of course, this is not recommended, as these textbooks are often a necessity for the class, whether it contain homework questions or passages that the student is required to read. Not having these textbooks can seriously affect a student’s success in their class.

While some students may choose not to purchase their textbooks because of the cost, other students may not have the choice, as they may not have the funds to purchase such materials. Paying to go to college is already expensive enough.

Full-time undergraduate in-state students at ECU, like myself, usually have a tuition cost of approximately $4,000 to $6,000 a semester, and $8,000 to $12,000 for a school year. Out of state students must pay almost $12,000 a semester, and $24,000 a year, unless they apply for student loans, financial aid, or a scholarship. This doesn’t include the cost of housing either. So, with textbooks costing almost $1,000 a year, it’s no wonder students choose (or don’t have the option) to buy their textbooks.

I believe that if these textbook prices were lowered, more students would be encouraged to purchase them. However, I also believe ECU can do more than just lower the prices of textbooks. Some colleges, such as Appalachian State University, have adapted a free textbook rental service for their full-time students, which is included in the price of tuition. Students just need a valid student ID to present to the bookstore.

This system has had positive feedback from many students and parents of students who attend Appalachian State University. I have friends that go to school there and they have expressed to me their appreciation for their textbook system, as without it, they probably wouldn’t have purchased their books. I can imagine that students here would appreciate it too.

However, there are a few ways ECU students can get out of paying the full costs for their textbooks. Textbook rental websites, such as Chegg and Knetbooks, allow for students to rent their textbooks for the semester, and for a much cheaper cost than the cost to rent textbooks from Dowdy or University Book Exchange. I discovered these sites my sophomore year, and they have been my saving grace since. You just have to pay for shipping.

Textbooks are a necessity for a student’s success in college. With how much students and their families already pay for education, I believe that textbooks should at least be a cheaper commodity. Cheaper textbooks, or a textbook rental service like the one that Appalachian State University has put into place, would allow for more students to access the materials they need to succeed in their classes.

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