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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Poll reveals rising textbook prices

    About 76 percent of students have paid more or about the same for textbooks for the fall semester than the spring semester, according to a survey of 5,000 students.

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona released the survey conducted in October as part of their continuing battle against rising textbook prices.

    UA students spend an average of $300 to $500 each semester on textbooks, according to ASUA Sens. Jen Dang, Steven Gerner and Samantha Kerr, who are heading the textbook campaign.

    The findings revealed gaps in students’ and faculty members’ understanding of textbook prices.

    Textbook awareness campaign survey

    22%: of students did not purchase all the required textbooks and course materials for the Fall 2006 semester

    65%: of students receive 25 percent or less of the price they paid for a textbook when they sell it back. 92% receive less than 50 percent of the original price

    35%: of students have not been able to purchase a required textbook at the UA due to financial constraints

    77%: of students feel optional/bundled material they purchased over their
    college career was only somewhat or not very beneficial

    UofA Bookstore officials don’t set prices – a fact that students did not know, according to the survey. High prices are caused by publishers setting prices, professors not sending book lists on time and expensive textbook bundles with extraneous materials, Dang said.

    A majority of students, about 87 percent, also believe professors and instructors are only somewhat or not very concerned about the prices students pay, according to the survey.

    “”The prices have been pretty high for the past six years, and they just keep going up,”” said Amir Hobheidar, a biology and chemistry graduate student.

    One goal of the textbook campaign is to educate faculty on prices.

    Dang said the campaign will compile a brochure of publishing companies for professors to make the costs easier for students.

    “”The faculty are only vaguely aware of the dimensions of the problem,”” said Mitchell Roberts, vice chair of the Faculty Senate and member of the UA committee on textbook costs. “”They’ll be willing to do their part once they understand the issues and what they can do to help out.””

    As one of the first acts of the textbook awareness campaign, ASUA started a contest that calls on students to submit essays, paintings, videos or songs that address rising textbook costs in an artistic way.

    “”The contest is a way to get students more aware and to present a piece on how textbooks affect their lives,”” Dang said.

    Three winners will be announced Dec. 4 and will each receive a $100 scholarship toward buying textbooks for next semester.

    One of the main goals of the textbook awareness campaign is to take a stand and get students’ voices heard to show that textbook prices are affecting them, Dang said.

    “”On top of tuition, sometimes you don’t have enough money to buy books, even with a job,”” said Daniel Bachelier, an architecture sophomore.

    ASUA is not the only organization taking the initiative in lowering textbook costs. The Arizona Board of Regents created a textbook task force, which is headed by Ed Hermes, the voting student regent, and regent Gary Stuart.

    “”We are looking at things, such as the price to make the book versus the cost to the student, and how to get new editions for instructors that tailor to that instructor’s needs,”” Hermes said.

    The task force has only gathered preliminary information, and the full report will be presented at the regents’ meeting in March, Hermes said.

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