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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

LYONS: Make textbooks affordable

For many, higher education poses financial challenges long after graduation. 

Tuition across the United States has been increasing at a staggering rate. From 2000 to 2020 the average price of college increased 69%. Just last year Marquette announced that tuition would be raised 4% for the upcoming school year. However, as college students know, tuition isn’t the only thing in college that comes with an exorbitant price tag.

Textbooks are a wildly expensive add on, and students are expected to shell out hundreds of dollars over the course of a semester. 

The cost of textbooks, much like college tuition, has risen over the years. While some of this increase can be accounted for by inflation, evidence suggests that textbook costs have outpaced inflation. The College Board suggests that students set aside $1200 each year for textbooks. Not only is that a crazy amount of money for textbooks it is also wildly inaccessible for the average student.

The main reason that textbooks cost so much is that the publishers just want more money. A significant amount of the profits from selling textbooks goes directly to the publishers, so the higher the cost the more money they make. 

Publishers make textbooks expensive because college students have no choice but to buy them. They know that they can raise prices without taking any major hits to their sales.

The price of textbooks on their own are concerning but what’s even more of an issue is the fact that many students choose not to buy the required text because of its high price tag. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund found that 65% of college students opted not to purchase textbooks despite having concerns about their grades. This is ridiculous and should not be expected of students.

Textbooks must be made more affordable.

The Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced over a year ago in March 2022. Its goal is to make textbooks more accessible by directing the Department of Education to make grants to universities and states to expand the use of free textbooks that are in the public domain or permit free use. 

Open educational resources should be embraced by universities and professors. 

Students already have the financial burden of paying for school, food, rent and other bills, textbooks are just another unnecessarily high expense that students have to factor in when balancing life with school.

Universities need to understand the financial burden of college and do everything they can to take off that pressure and prioritize students. They need to put the well-being of their students first, not the profits of textbook publishers, and commit to introducing the use of public domain and free use textbooks.

This column was written by Kirsten Lyons. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kirsten Lyons
Kirsten Lyons, Assistant Opinions Editor
Kirsten Lyons is a sophomore from St. Paul, Minnesota studying journalism and peace studies and is the Assistant Opinions Editor at the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire she enjoys knitting, reading and trying out new recipes. She is excited to grow as a journalist at the Wire and help others do the same.

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