Textbooks are very expensive and it can be difficult for students to be able to afford them. New federal law is going into effect this month allowing students to have information about textbooks at the time of registration to help them make informed choices. Is that enough?
There is a Pennsylvania bill, which if made into law, would require professors working at community colleges and state schools to select the least expensive, educationally sound textbooks. Is that a good idea? What are your thoughts?
Thank you Jilly. The PA bill does seem very limiting, not only in quality but in content. Information often differs somewhat from textbook to textbook. To me it seems that worrisome that we would all have the same information, written from the same point of view. And if anyone had an agenda, they could disseminate their propaganda simply by having the lowest priced texts. Other opinions would be shut out.
What do the rest of you think? How important is the cost of textbooks? Are these laws a good idea? Are their other solutions?
I think control is the real issue. Yes, cost is important to me as a long-distance student, but .... I'm there to learn, not follow a robotic drill. Limiting instructors in text book choices will limit their ability to teach the most effective way possible. Education is the key, not economics.
I *definitely* think students should know up front what textbooks they're going to be required to have for a course. At Northeastern the courses I've registered for have always had a full syllabus available to students as they look through the course list. You know up front that information as well as what the testing schedule is, how many papers you write, etc. I thought this was fairly standard but apparently it's not!
I am with Jill that I think professors should choose the best material they can. I am taking these courses to learn. I want to learn as much as I can with each course. You're already making a substantial investment of money to take a college course. I would rather have that investment be "really really worth it" vs saving a few pennies and having what is still a huge investment be "learning utter nonsense".
I.e. to me it's like having this choice. You can pay $30 and have the ultimate dinner of a lifetime that you talk about for years and years and remember fondly, or you can pay $25 and have food so awful that you can barely eat it. Sure you saved $5 - but you already were paying a lot of money for your meal and it makes more sense at that point for it to be worth it.
Thank you. That is great that you had all that information during where you went to school. I've never had that any place where I went to school (nor any colleges I worked for). I think the new federal law going into effect this month will really help students be able to comparison shop and find the best prices (and still have their books in time for class). The PA bill seems to be going to far. Does anyone disagree?
I haven't tried to rent textbooks, but I do look for good used ones, and so far we've had lots of luck finding them at a fairly reasonable price. My roommate and I are both attending colleges, and between us we save $500 - $1000 a year, if not more.