College students struggling more than ever to afford text books

65% of students did not buy a textbook last year because it was too expensive.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A tough lesson in economics: the price of text books is soaring.

NBC reviewed the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found the cost of textbooks has increased more than 1,000% over the last 40 years. This year, books, on average will cost a public college student $1,225 – 9% more than last year.

22News went to UMass Amherst to ask students how the stress of buying a text book affects their classwork. Caitlin Schumann, a grad student, told 22News, “I have definitely forgone buying text books. I mean, sometimes our books are almost $200 or over $200. You really hope most of the time you don’t really need it.”

65% of students did not buy a textbook last year because it was too expensive.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition says prices have been increased because students MUST buy whatever books they’re assigned. The Association of American Publishers says that data is misleading because it doesn’t count buying used books or renting books.

“You’re paying $300 – $400 right off the bat,” says UMass Amherst student Robert Acer, “especially for classes that require you to get textbook manuals or lab manuals. You don’t really have a choice so it’s a tough blow.”

UMass Amherst contracted with Amazon in May to replace its traditional on-campus bookstore with a virtual bookstore. The new electronic way to buy new, used, rented, or digital books saves a student about $380 per year.

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