Textbook resolution aims to relieve debt

Associated Students has unanimously passed resolution AS.R1.14.15, “Reducing the Cost of Education by Engaging in the Textbook Alternative Pilot.” This resolution is intended to help develop alternative methods of presenting course material that will try to appease the growing financial burden that buying course books has on students.  

The first day of classes after returning from an extended break is never any fun. Coming home after a day of classes and realizing that one has to buy 15 textbooks for all of their courses only adds to a student’s frustration. It’s not so much though that having 15 books means a lot of reading, it’s more so the fact that having 15 books means shelling out hundreds of dollars per semester.

Senior Ian Ebinger said in response to the high prices on textbooks, “I buy a textbook for $300 and then sell it back for $5. It makes no sense. We are making it harder and harder for student’s to leave college without being in debt. I’m happy to see that there are people who realize this and are taking an initiative.” 

The resolution states that the Associated Students are becoming more and more concerned with the financial burden placed on students as a result of the high cost of textbooks. There are a number of reasons for their concern as well. 

Textbooks and other course materials are also the number one out-of-pocket college expense for all students. Over the past decade the cost of college textbooks has increased by 82 percent, a rate that is an increase three times that of inflation. 

Nationally students pay roughly $1,200 per year on books and various other school supplies. Sonoma State University students are paying $1,826 per year on textbooks and course supplies, which is 152 percent of the national average and a third of students’ annual tuition costs.

Adam Rosenkranz, vice president of finance said in response to the resolution, “The Textbook Alternative Pilot urges faculty participants to develop inventive and alternative methods of presenting course materials that will limit the financial burden on students and their families.” 

The high prices have repercussions on student’s grades as well. Sixty-five percent of students have begun to opt out of buying their books. And 94 percent have said that they have struggled in certain classes because they are not readily equipped with all the necessary course materials. 

Senior  Ken Cartsens said, “I love having the feeling of holding a book in my hand, but the increasing prices just make it too hard. For the past few semesters I’ve had to pick and choose which books to buy since I can’t afford to pay for all of them.” 

It is evident that students in the U.S. pay costly amounts of money for their tuition, as well as amounts of money to buy what they need in order to succeed in their academics. Measures and resolutions like these are important in trying to reduce the amount of money that college students pay.

Christian George, executive vice president of Associated Students, was one of the most influential members of this resolution being passed.

“Our interest in addressing this problem began when we found out that 65 percent of students have opted out of buying college textbooks due to the increase in the price of course materials, and of those students, 94 percent state that they suffer academically because of the lack of course materials,” said George.

The hope for this resolution is to encourage students, faculty and the university to work together in order to find creative solutions to help minimize the burdens of increasing textbook prices. 

The high cost of textbooks is a big issue when talking with fellow students, and although this is only the first step, it’s also the most important one. 

The resolution was voted on Sept. 19 and unanimously supported by the entire senate.