Textbook prices have risen so high that their inconvenience is no longer avoidable, according to a report released by the North Carolina Public Interest Research Group on Feb. 3.
The data, collected during 2015, found that nearly one third of enrolled undergraduate students on financial aid used an average of $300 of their aid to cover the costs of textbooks.This resulted in over 5 million students using financial aid for textbooks, spending a total of $3.15 billion a year.
Michelle Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, said textbook expenses can add up.
“The rising cost of textbooks is an issue that we have to pay attention to because it does have an impact on college affordability," she said.
Representatives from NCPIRG, UNC and North Carolina State University discussed steps to combat rising textbook costs on a teleconference Wednesday.
Sam Snider, a UNC sophomore and coordinator for NCPIRG's statewide textbooks campaign, said choosing not to buy expensive textbooks can have real academic consequences.
“(Students) can either purchase the necessary textbook and add to their financial hardship, take time away from studying to work extra hours or go without the book and accept the impact on their ability to learn and perform well,” he said.
UNC's student government is taking steps to ensure that students do not have to make those tough decisions, according to Lee Beckman, student body treasurer and director of the Affordability Task Force.
Beckman said the task force — which aims to decrease the living costs of students — can most tangibly affect students' textbook alternatives.