University of Oklahoma junior Lindsay Green rents her textbooks and uses a free library reserve program to help save money.
Still, she spent nearly $400 last semester on books and supplies. Green, a political science student from Aledo, Texas, estimates she would have paid about $900 if she bought her books.
Students at four-year public colleges spent an average of $1,137 on books and supplies last academic year, according to the College Board, a national nonprofit membership organization that works to promote excellence and equity in education. Rising costs have colleges, students and professors looking for cheaper alternatives, like the textbook rental and reserve programs Green uses.
Other alternatives include shopping for bargains online, sharing books and using online resources. In many cases, those alternatives can save students hundreds of dollars a semester. Options, however, are still somewhat limited.
Rentals and reserves
Green rents most of her books from a website called Chegg.com. She also uses OU's library textbook reserve program for some of her classes. The program is “wonderful,” Green said.