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Textbook costs create burden to students

Aug. 23, 2004

STAFF EDITORIAL

As college students start this year of classes, one financial burden still looms over their heads - textbook expenses.

The U.S. House Education committee held a hearing July 20, "Are College Textbooks Priced Fairly?"

According to an article written by American Council on Education, one representative from a college trade association said the price of textbooks has led to illegal photocopying of textbooks.

Some students even skip buying the textbooks altogether.

"Textbooks are a major cost factor for American college students," John Boehner, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman, said.

"We want to know whether college textbooks are priced fairly, and what impact textbooks have on the cost of a higher education,"

The editorial board applauds the committee's effort to look into the fairness of textbook costs.

We believe efforts should be made to reduce the cost of textbooks.

The expense of textbooks can be attributed to many things such as added features such as CD-ROMS, study guides, etc.

Some of the added features are never used by students or teachers to account for the price students pay.

Most financial aid awarded by government is aimed toward tuition and fees.

While some scholarships might cover books, many students must still find a way to pay for the educational materials.

In January 2004, California Student Public Research Interest Group released a report that college students spend on average $900 a year on textbooks.

We realize the importance of these materials, but the cost of using them can hinder many students more than help them.

While we all start this school year with books in hand -- used or old -- we call upon our government and textbook companies to look into possible ways of reducing these costs.

Editorial board vote: 3-0