Scraping up enough money to purchase textbooks weighs heavily on the minds of many college students, according to staffers at New America.
The Washington, DC-based think tank convened students and parents this fall for a series of focus groups. The gatherings offered participants the opportunity to share their opinions about higher education and student success.
“Students and parents alike had a lot to say about the cost of tuition and the institutions themselves, and offered policy ideas they believed could alleviate some of the things that weren’t working,” New America staff members Ernest Ezeugo and Manuela Ekowo wrote in a recent blog post. “But when students were asked what they thought the most problematic aspects of college were, it was the cost of textbooks that most animated the room.”
Average textbook costs can total more than $1,200 a year at some institutions. But students are expected to purchase books and other materials prior to or shortly after classes begin — in some cases before financial aid is disbursed.
“This can be a heavy burden, especially for underserved student populations with limited resources,” noted Ezeugo and Ekowo, who say more must be done to lower the cost of required course materials.
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