What's Being Done to Curb the Cost of College Textbooks

What's Being Done to Curb the Cost of College Textbooks

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"Anything we can do to help make it easier for a student to go to college and not have to worry about that financial thing."

Connie Holberg, library director at Jefferson Community College says she feels cutting the cost of college helps students focus more on education.

Buying textbooks can be what puts student's budgets over the edge. 

While the cost can be unpredictable at times, a Campusbooks.com survey found the average student spends $488 dollars per semester on books and nearly 66 percent of students have opted out of buying a textbook because it was too expensive.

"A lot of times students find that once they get here and tuition has been paid and all the rest, they didn't realize how expensive textbooks were going to be," said Holberg. "Some of them start out the semester without the proper textbooks and start being behind from the get go."

JCC has started a Textbooks on Reserve Program where students get free access to the textbook while in the library.

Using a formula of buying a mix of the most used and most expensive books, JCC is not alone. Other SUNY schools like SUNY Canton have similar programs..

"I heard back from properly around 30 different campuses and probably at least three quarters of them have a textbook collection now and they didn't use to," said Holberg.

She said right now, JCC has around one third of the textbooks used on campus.

Another alternative to curbing the cost of textbook is what's known as an Open Educational Resource or an OER. Its essentially like an online textbook with online resources built by professors.

"They can take content that has been created by somebody else and remixed it and put it together in a way they want it," said Carleen Huxley, coordinator of library instruction at JCC. "They can add to it and then create their own content themselves."

SUNY is using $4 million to try to curb the cost of textbooks by creating OERs for high enrollment general education courses, which makes it so a student doesn't need to buy a textbook. It's online for free..

"Several different SUNY schools right now that are using that money in order to try and advocate and encourage O-E-Rs on campuses," said Huxley.

A few ways to try to nickel and dime down the cost of college.

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