Textbook Affordability


Perhaps no issue better symbolizes spiraling costs in higher education for students, faculty, legislators and the general public than textbook affordability.

While the cost of higher education has outpaced the rate of inflation, the cost of textbooks—a basic need of students in every segment of high education—appears to be spiraling out of control. A combination of factors, including the need of faculty for textbooks that reflect the current state of rapidly changing fields of study and the desire of textbook publishers to have student purchase new rather than used texts, has resulted in a state of affairs in which it is not unusual for a single textbook to cost students in excess of $100.

Both state and national legislators have sought remedies to help students without interfering with market economic forces. The issue is also addressed in the 2008 Reauthorized Higher Education Act.

California faculty are painfully aware of the burden spiraling textbook costs have imposed on students and have addressed the issue in the following documents.

  • CSU Northridge Text Affordability Letter from Harry Hellenbrand
  • ASCCC Statement on Textbook Affordability