Should College Textbooks Be Free?
One of my professors brought up the subject that college is a business. The college we get accepted to and choose to go to is ultimately trying to sell us an education to gain money for its and the government's benefit. The fact that we have to pay $14,500+ every year, depending if you stay in your state or potentially double that if you're out of state, is a bit much. (This approximation is made from my public university and the people who come from out of state have pay $10,000 more not including an on campus dorm or apartment.) This is relatively cheap compared to some state schools and Ivy League schools. Shouldn't the tuition alone be enough? Where does all of this money go? It's stated in my tuition bill that there are university fees that equal up to $500 dollars! What is this specifically for? That extra $500 could buy me two, maybe three textbooks, which leads me to why students should not have to pay for textbooks.
College does not take into account the money spent on traveling to school every single day, the money you use to buy food at school every day, especially if you have an 8 a.m. class and you're getting on the bus at 6:30 a.m., then train at 7:15 a.m., you sometimes don't have time to eat. Naturally you'd want to get breakfast, and depending on your schedule, you may be there for lunch, and if you have a project due tomorrow and need the resources available at school, you'll be there for dinner. Other items college does not take into account are school supplies. You can go to Target or Wal-Mart and get good deals, but at the end of the day, it all adds up, leaving almost no room for an extra $500+ to buy textbooks.
College textbooks need to be supplied to the students for free being that as soon as they apply and accept their financial aid, they're already in debt, and the cost of textbooks can be outrageous. Of course, there are websites that you can rent your textbooks from and websites who will buy your textbooks from you if they are in good condition after the semester ends. But, you're likely to get back less than half of what you paid regardless of the condition. One thing I would make sure of though, is if you know your major and have bought books regarding your major, then I would not sell them back because it could be used for future reference within your college career.
Two tips I could give to you are the following: Look into a Facebook page that includes your graduating year and join it, such as "Some Awesome University Class of 2020" and people from other classes who may be graduating before you can and will post the books that they have and are selling usually three times less the price of the original. Buying a $150 book for $40 is quite a bargain! Another tip would be waiting until you start school and listening to what your professors have to say. Some of them may require a book; some of them may not even if the syllabus states that it does. The professor will likely tell you on the first day of classes not to waste your money because you will not be using the book at all.
At the end of the day, college textbooks are another expense an 18-year-old can not afford, or even her family could potentially not afford. We already pay thousands of dollars for an education that does not even guarantee us a job after graduation. Providing textbooks for students would save the students and their families thousands of dollars over the four-plus years of college that they attend, meaning that the saved money from not buying textbooks can be used for other top priorities such as school supplies or even dorm supplies if you are living on campus.
Once again, wait until your first day of classes to see if you need the textbook or not. I made that mistake this semester but quickly found out and was able to return the book for the full price. It's frustrating that you can go to Barnes and Nobles and buy a book for $17, but when it comes to college books, they get extremely pricey. But hey, in the long run, you will have a college education, hopefully doing what you love most.