Textbooks a Drag on Student Budget

By Andrea Jungels

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC / The Loop) – Students spend hundreds of dollars every semester on textbooks.  And textbook costs are on the rise with no end in sight.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank composed of over 50 scholars who study and advocate for social issues, in 30 years student book costs have increased 812 percent.  That is well over the 559 percent increase in college tuition since that same time.


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s average cost for books is about 700 dollars a semester.  The campus bookstore is affiliated with Barnes and Noble so the major book-selling corporation will naturally seek a profit.  But are they just fleecing the students by charging exorbitant prices and taking advantage of their corner in the market?  Is this capitalism gone haywire playing at the nerves of students desperate to earn a degree and land a job in this shaky market?

Over 60% of the 20 million Americans attending college each year borrow money so a solution to curtailing book costs is necessary.

Do you think university textbooks are too expensive? Answer here!

One solution is to roll an estimated book cost into college tuition and each incoming freshmen will just be given their assigned book prior to the start of each semester.  This of course will require an oversight committee to ensure inflated prices are not abused.

To do this, UTC will have to consider other universities’ successes in implementing the inclusion of book costs.  And after researching over five other schools’ tuition breakdown, it looks like no other schools have attempted this so UTC would be groundbreaking in this implementation.

Students always have the option to buy the books used or rent them or even search out other places to buy them like Amazon.com.  But this is time-consuming and not always a guarantee of lower prices anyway.


Student Charnele Box wrote an interesting commentary on her opinion of the high cost of books.

UTC junior Sidney Sadler also had a great post about the difficulty students face in selling back their textbooks.

One thing is certain, the cost of textbooks and pretty much everything affiliated with their purchase is creating huge headaches.

Attractive Woman with Her Books

Email your Chancellor to let him know you aren’t happy with the situation and maybe change will begin!



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