“For my English or comparative literature classes, usually there is a heavy list of novels — really, textbook is not the right word for it. This is anywhere from 8 to 15 (books), depending on the class,” she said.
She said her classes also required a lot of printing — more than the 400 pages of CCI printing UNC gives every student each semester.
“It is expected that there are articles that the professor posts on Sakai that you’re required to print, and this where it can get pretty extravagant. Articles can range from like 8 pages to 30,” she said.
Freshman Radhika Arora believed the items she had to buy for her Arabic class — which included a keyboard cover with Arabic letters, a small whiteboard and an Arabic-English dictionary — were worth the price. But when it came to her Economics 101 class, Arora opted out of a subscription to The Wall Street Journal.
“It is expensive, and I knew ahead of time that I was not going to be able to put in the time necessary to sit every day and read through the newspaper and get enough value out of the money I was spending,” she said.
Heidrich believes there are more modern ways to get around some of these costs.
“It did seem rather frustrating that we could, say, have them up on our laptops with notes on the side, because (printing hard copies) ruins our printing fund for the semester.”
Heidrich ended up buying her own printer to save money in the long run.
Chemistry professor Brian Hogan said he considers the cost of assigned materials.
“It’s a complicated issue. I can only speak for myself as an individual, but I do take student budgets into account,” he said. “I email my class the syllabus in advance and tell them the required text. I also tell them in the email there are other less expensive options.”
Daniel Gitterman, a professor and chairman of the public policy department, said he listens to his students’ opinions on required equipment.
“I used to require clickers but discontinued based on feedback,” he said. “I try to never exceed $100 and encourage used books.”
Turner did say the estimated costs from UNC are higher than what students usually pay.
“We are pretty generous. We don’t expect students to live totally to the bone,” she said.