The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which advises the Department of Education and Congress on student financial aid policy, has completed a yearlong report to Congress on potential solutions to the problem of skyrocketing college textbook prices.
Making Washington the first state to act in 2007 on the growing problem of college textbook prices, Governor Christine Gregoire signed a landmark measure this morning that will help lower the cost of textbooks for Washington college students. The law requires textbook publishing companies to disclose prices and change-of-edition information when marketing course materials to faculty in the state of Washington.
Today’s college students are under enormous financial pressure. The gap between tuition and fees and financial aid leaves many students working long hours through college, struggling to make ends meet, and graduating with large debts. The high cost of textbooks is yet another financial burden. MASSPIRG conducted a survey of 287 professors from a variety of disciplines at Massachusetts colleges and universities over the fall semester of 2006 to get their views on textbook industry practices that drive up prices. (February 2007)
Students are still paying too much for their textbooks, as book prices skyrocket at four times the rate of inflation, according to the new report from the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. The report highlights one major cause for the artificially high prices – publishers don’t provide clear information about their prices to faculty.
Previous to the huge and historic passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 in September 2007, students were hard at work to make college afffordable.
After Senators and members of Congress returned from August recess, students and student advocates were hopeful that both chambers had hammered out a new and final policy to help solve the problem of deep student loan debt. The process unfolded quickly – within two days, the House and Senate Education committees pulled together a joint press event with the Student PIRGs and coalition partners to announce final passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.
In the spring of 2005, Congress cut the student loan program by $12 billion dollars, forcing interest rates on loans to go higher and making college dangerously expensive. Students at UConn and at hundreds of campuses across the country fought the cuts, but we lost narrowly
A new report, released today by The Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign, presents new case studies of how the college textbook publishing industry deliberately undermines the used book market and inflates prices. Based upon surveys and interviews of bookstore managers and university faculty across the country, the report – “Required Reading: A Look at the Worst Publishing Tactics at Work” – identifies specific textbooks that employ types of publishing tactics, and illustrates how they inflate the cost of textbooks for students.
College textbooks are an essential but increasingly expensive part of obtaining a higher education. Major publishers have done little to provide adequate lower-cost versions of most textbooks and advertise them to professors ordering books for their classes. In response, alternative and online publishers are offering lower-cost and even free versions of some textbooks. Although these alternatives have the potential to compete with the traditional publishers, they have not yet secured a significant part of the textbook market. As a result, the responsibility for making textbooks more affordable still falls on the major publishers. (August 2006)