Viewpoint: The cost of higher education

As if the increase in college tuition isn't shocking enough, parents are discovering the sticker shock associated with the price of text books, required by professors at our institutions of higher learning.

For example, text books can range $600 and up, per semester.  Honors class students and HOPE recipients are given a break with their school book purchases  but for those without those breaks, the costs of books can be hard to swallow.

What we have also discovered is that in many cases, the professors are the authors of these text books and an edition from last year just won't be allowed in their classes. Well that's the Fox guarding the henhouse isn't it?

Has anyone ever thought of saving all the trees and putting the required reading on the internet?  I've heard college kids are really good with computers.

The costs of textbooks have gotten so out of hand that even Congress has stepped in with a set of strong policies in the "Higher Education Reauthorization and College Opportunity Act of 2008."

The textbooks section has three main provisions:

  • It requires publishers to disclose textbook pricing and revision information to faculty.
  • It requires publishers to offer textbooks and supplemental materials "unbundled" or separately.
  • It asks colleges to provide the list of assigned textbooks, the International Standard Book Number, and  prices for each course when students are registering for classes.

According to  the "Make Textbooks Affordable" website, there have been six states to pass price-disclosure bills and a number of states are considering similar measures.  Georgia is not on that list.

But in an effort to make a higher education more affordable, we encourage our state legislators to take a look at this issue and take steps to help make it easier for our students to reach their goal of a higher education.