September 22, 2016 | Number of The Day
Number of college courses that use high-priced electronic material instead of textbooks

Everyone knows the cost of college textbooks – as well as of textbooks in private high schools – has been rising as fast as the cost of tuition. At Rutgers University, students spend an average of $1,500 a year.

It used to be that you could often buy used textbooks to save some money. No more. Nowadays, most class material comes in electronic form and what you actually buy at the campus store is an “access code” that gains you entry to a website. In effect, textbook purveyors have eliminated the competition and ensured that the price allows for only one individual to buy access for one course, according to NJ PIRG. No longer can you borrow the books from the library or share with a friend.

“We have reached a point where the cost of textbooks has become a barrier to those values of equity and access in education, and access codes are not doing anything to solve this problem,” said Lily Todorinova, the Rutgers Undergraduate Experience librarian.