As classes began at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Monday, Aug. 26, many students were instructed to purchase textbooks by their professors.
However, many students opted out of buying these textbooks due to their high prices.
A student who decided to buy her books at the UL Lafayette bookstore commented, sharing her dissatisfaction with the rising price.
“Honestly, I find it convenient that it’s on campus, but the problem is that on-campus is the most expensive option,” Marie Indenhoek, a junior psychology major, said. “So many students are in debt because of having to buy books at crazy expensive rates.”
Indenhoek also blames the lack of understanding from some teachers for this debt.
“Some teachers expect it immediately, but sometimes we can’t get it,” Indenhoek said, claiming the short amount of time between book assignment and the expected date of possession pushes students to make the costly purchase on-campus.
Indenhoek said that, although she technically only bought two textbooks this semester, she also had to purchase a class code and sample test booklet.
“All of that cost about 350 bucks,” she said.
This interaction follows a prevalent trend.
“The average cost of college textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation over the past 10 years,” Kathy Kristoff of cbsnews.com said.
This comes with serious consequences. As textbooks become more and more expensive, students are more likely to not purchase them, or, in some cases, they cannot afford them at all.
“The Public Interest Research Groups found that two-thirds of surveyed students had skipped buying or renting some of their required course materials because they couldn’t afford them,” Gaby Del Valle of Vox.com said.
This problem has been ongoing for years.
“Textbook costs have risen more than 1,000% since the 1970s,” Del Valle said.
And the pricing for textbooks has not been consistent across disciplines.
“Books for humanities courses … tend to cost less than those for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) course,” she said.
SlugBooks.com, a website used to compare book prices, echoes this idea. According to the website, the required GEOL106 textbook is normally $268.95 while the required PHIL331 textbook is normally $99.95. However, both of them can be purchased by outside sellers, such as Amazon, for less than fifty dollars each.
Indenhoek also brought up E-books as a combatant to rising textbook costs, but while this alternative provides a solution to cost and availability, it comes with a whole other host of issues.
“It’s nice to have the E-books, but I like, especially majoring in psychology and now having a criminal justice minor, I usually like to keep those books, and sometimes the E-books are only for a certain number of days,” she said. “E-books are becoming such a big thing, but there are people like myself who like hard copies.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns Store was unable to comment on the issue at this time.