Besides the benefits of a higher education, there is something else everyone can agree on: attending college is expensive. From tuition to living expenses, the cost that comes with an education puts more than a dent in the wallets of students. Outside the obvious price of tuition, most students are surprised by the additional cost of textbooks. According to the College Board reports, the average cost of books and supplies for the 2012-2013 academic year was $1,200 on top of tuition.
Additionally, studies show that the already high price of textbooks is on the rise. An article published by Michelle Jamrisko and Ilan Komlet in Bloomberg states that the college textbook expenses have more than doubled since the end of 2001.
Although options like buying online, renting and purchasing digital forms of the textbooks are more cost-efficient alternatives to bookstores; they don’t solve the problem completely. To bring forward another option for students, MPIRG's UMTC Corporate Accountability Task Force is working on a book swap project in collaboration with the Minnesota Student Association. The book swap will work as a platform for students to exchange books and compare prices to other sources simply by entering the class name and/or the ISBN number of the particular book. The website may also feature a section dedicated to searching available housing options or subleases.
As the website approaches completion, MPIRG will focus on promoting its’ launch. The current timeline for the project has the website up and running around winter break allowing the students to utilize it for the spring semester. There will be Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages devoted to endorsing the campaign as well as advertisements to student groups and flyers around campus. The more students that participate in the project, the more successful it will be.
Currently the University of Minnesota has a page on Facebook for students to buy and sell textbooks but this campaign will take that to the next level. More people will know about it and it will be easily accessible to those who are not a part of the Facebook group. The website will provide an alternative to the bookstore that will ideally cut down on some of the “extra” expenses that accompany tuition. Although it’s not going to fully eliminate the cost of textbooks, it will help bring down burden of extra payments at a considerable rate. As a student myself, I’m looking forward to using this website as the main way to exchange my textbooks.