There’s been some recent discussion in the blogosphere about the cost of college textbooks. The discussion involves these ideas:
- The College Board reports that college students should budget $1,200 for textbooks/year.
- Surveys of college students suggest that students actually spend about $600/year on textbooks.
The discussion centers on a few points:
- How much do these costs affect students’ enrollment and educational success?
- How much do the expenditures relate to first-generation college students?
- What are the effects of students trying to cut costs on textbooks?
- What set of data make sense for making policy decisions?
- Is the actual expenditure on textbooks so low because students max-out their budget?
- What about “recommended” vs. “required” materials?
Everyone seems to agree that the cost of required materials is too high.
This debate is fascinating and very important. Here are links to the blogs discussing it (and many of then present very good data):
- Phil Hill – Bad Data can Lead to Bad Policy: College Students Don’t Spend $1,200+ on Textbooks
- Mike Caulfield – Asking What Students Spend is the Wrong Question
- Phil Hill – Asking What Students Spend on Textbooks is Very Important, but Insufficient
- Bracken Mosbacker – Delivering the Ideal Bag O’Books
- David Wiley – The Practical Cost of Textbooks
- Mike Caulfield – Pill-Splitting the Textbook
- Phil Hill – Data to back up concerns of textbook expenditures by First-Generation College Students