The College Post
The College Post -- Covering Higher Education in America

Spending on College Course Materials Declines Steadily

A new report by Student Monitor indicates a continuous slump in spending on college textbooks and course materials in the United States.

The research firm conducted one-on-one, on-campus interviews with four-year, full-time undergraduates attending 93 colleges and universities.

During the fall semester of 2019, spending declined by 23 percent. College students spent $205 to buy or rent course materials, which is down from $265 for the 2018 fall term.

The declining trend started in 2015. From $691 in 2014, the current student spending on college course materials for 2018-2019 went down to $492.

“The ongoing decline in spending on course materials reflects the fact that students are taking full advantage of the new, cost-effective options that publishers have made available, including initiatives such as Inclusive Access, which provides students with course materials on the first day of class, often at a reduced cost,” the Association of American Publishers said in a release.

According to the Federal Register notice, textbook costs have seen a great surge in the past decade, with 88 percent rise in 2006-2016. The average cost increased to $1,263 for four-year college students and $1,458 for two–year schools in 2016-2017.

Recently, Rice University’s nonprofit publisher OpenStax and ten colleges and universities across the country collaborated to save millions of dollars on textbook and materials costs with the use of free learning materials available on OpenStax.

University of the Cumberlands Launches Free Textbook Program