Chronicle’s view: save money, rent books

On Nov. 14, The Associated Students of the University of Utah came together with the support of students and other collegiate student representatives from around the state to show its approval of a bill that proposes the elimination of a sales tax on university textbooks.

It is estimated that throughout the state, $4.7 million would be saved annually, and each student would save around $60 a semester.

With the prices of textbooks rising faster than the rate of inflation — not to mention a never-ending supply of new editions of a number of books — this bill appears to be an answer to the frustration students feel every time they take a trip to the bookstore. It is hard enough paying one’s tuition, student fees and, on top of that, making the purchase of a semester’s book load. The bill would, without a doubt, alleviate the financial burdens most students have.

ASUU’s efforts in leading the pack in supporting this bill are highly commendable. It is arguably one of the largest steps any ASUU administration has taken in an attempt to benefit not only the student body at the U, but college students throughout the state. In previous administrations, many campaign promises have gone unfulfilled. Most students remember being promised the creation of around 50 scholarships for 2006-2007 and how only two had materialized.

In stark contrast, this year’s administration is not only keeping its campaign promises, it is going above and beyond by advocating student needs that might not have been part of their original plans while in office. Their role in the textbook tax cut is a symbol to the student body of how much they care.

However, what ASUU hopes to help accomplish cannot be done alone — they need the support of the student body. As part of ASUU’s efforts to push this bill forward, it hopes to collect 30,000 student signatures statewide. A copy of the petition to be signed by U students can be found at the University Campus Store.

With 17 other states passing similar legislation and four others in the process, our state legislature should take this bill under serious consideration. It would help students who find it difficult to afford the costs of college.

In the meantime, the bookstore, teachers and campus departments should make lowering students’ financial responsibilities a priority. The bookstore has taken some initiative by starting a program that would enable students to rent books for the semester, but further progress could be made by realizing that buying the newest edition of each textbook is not always necessary.

In a time where money is an issue for most, helping students save on finances is a cause worth pursuing.

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