Patience: Textbooks Should Not Be An Additional Cost to Tuition

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By Alisa Patience

As school starts up our wallets begin to empty once again. The most stressful part about college for me isn’t driving 45 minutes every day to commute or writing final essays. It’s getting textbooks. It’s no secret that textbooks can be expensive, and of course, there are ways to work around it. There are deals online, especially on Amazon. You can rent, get eBooks and there is even the book buy-back at the campus store. Unfortunately, even with all of these different options, I still couldn’t afford to buy books in time for classes. I was only able to get a couple of ten dollar texts for my literature class. Even with my scholarship money and money left over after tuition, I still didn’t have enough money to get the rest of my required texts.
The reason this is so stressful is that without the books, students fall behind on schoolwork. I’m already a week behind on a lot of my reading. Luckily, most of my professors are understanding and either post PDF’s of texts online or give extensions. Not all students are so fortunate.
When students fall behind on reading, they fall behind on homework, which means when tests roll around they don’t have the knowledge needed to do well. For a class, say, like Spanish, it is essential to be caught up on work so that students will have the same skills as others, so that they can converse and get the practice necessary to actually learn the language.
As an English major, I feel that I have more reading and required books than most – a prominent victim of student textbook fees. One of my professors even requires us to have a physical paper copy of our book, so inexpensive ebooks or PDF’s aren’t an option. I hate to be “that millennial,” but it really isn’t fair, especially when many professors hardly use the required texts.
The book buy-back isn’t always helpful either. Last semester, when I tried to return my book, they wouldn’t take it because some of the pages were crinkled from the rain. None of the words were smeared, and the corners of the book weren’t even ruined. It was my most expensive book. There wasn’t a rental option or a used version, and I couldn’t get any money back for it. And I, unfortunately, will never use the book again.
Additionally, the problem with buying or renting books on Amazon is that you never know for sure when they’ll arrive. Many of my classmates ordered books weeks ago, but due to shipping problems, they still don’t have their books.
You know what would solve all of these problems: textbooks included in the cost of tuition. I would rather my tuition money go towards textbooks than towards a record breaking screen in a football stadium. I don’t even have time to enjoy the large screen because I never have time to go to football games. I’m too busy catching up on homework from when I didn’t have my textbooks, or working to pay for them.