Venting About College Textbook Costs (Opinion)

milton mendonca's picture

A verbatim text last night from my daughter, a sophomore at Michigan State University: "My books were $450 .... I hate my life."

She called today to elaborate. The bill was actually $500 for five classes, and there were multiple levels to her frustration. All of her books were paperbacks; despite the hefty bill, there's not a hardcover book in the bunch. Most of her books were used or rented. In other words, she used all the conventional cost-saving strategies and still spent $450.

The single most outrageous price: A $100 rental fee for a 300-page paperback textbook for political science. It was used, incidentally. Her other option was purchasing it new for $150.

There are many infuriating aspects of college costs. The tuition increases. The mysterious fees tacked onto the tuition bill. Cramped dorm rooms priced as they were Manhattan apartments.

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