Growing college tuition costs and student loan debt remains a massive problem of our generation in the U.S. that ballooned in the past decade. The issue of unjustifiably high college costs was accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemics. Although the problem is systemic and no easy fix can be found, as a student, there is a way for you to cut some of the college expenses down, and that’s when textbook rental comes into play.
Сost of College over Time
How much does college cost? A lot. And according to the most recent data published by U.S. News that reviews 20 years of tuition changes in the 391 ranked National Universities:
- The average tuition and fees have increased to 144% (private universities).
- Out-of-state tuition and fees have risen to 171% (public universities).
- In-state tuition and fees have increased to 211% (public universities).
It’s not news that college is expensive for many reasons. There are plenty of underlying factors that cause average tuition costs to be high overall and to go up all the time (e.g., an increase in demand, a lack of state funding, and etc.). However, the tendency has two major consequences:
- First, student loan debt increases.
- Second, students choose not to go to college at all.
Both are huge problems.
Student Loan Debt
All the more increasing student loan debt is currently a point of fierce debate among policymakers. For example, should a part of the existing student debt be forgiven (and how much is “enough”), should these relief policies be applied to every loan-taker, and how the current practices of loan taking and repaying should be reformed? The amount of federal student loans is enormous, amounting to nearly $1.6 trillion—only mortgage loans are more extensive, according to CFR. Here you can find other statistics on student debt unpacked.
Currently, if you decide to embark on the higher education quest, it can take you around 10-20 (or even up to 30) years to pay off the student loan. Unfortunately, too many factors influence how much money you end up loaning and how fast you can pay it back—like the college itself, chosen career track, job market situation, demographics, and the pandemics, after all.
Obviously, not only the federal government but also colleges and universities have to join this discussion. Higher education institutions should opt for providing more tuition waivers and flexible stipend programs to those in need and condemn a common practice of artificially raising tuition and misleading about actual college costs and job prospects. Astonishingly, tuition costs rose 326% between 1987 and 2007.
Students Don’t Go to College
These dreadful numbers deprive many talented teenagers of higher education. They are simply not sure if they are able to earn enough to pay it back, especially in the current precarious job market, and whether it is all worth the hustle. Sometimes, even the combination of federal aid and scholarship opportunities is unable to make college a reality for many students.
Alternatively, if they choose and manage to go to college against all odds, many students have to take multiple jobs to make ends meet while attending it full-time. Sadly, they often end up kicked out eventually, as they can’t attend all classes, and their GPA drops.
How to Reduce College Costs
There is no way that we can get out of this bubble without certain structural changes. These have been long-awaited for decades. However, some techniques can help you cope with the rising costs of higher education.
One of them is to be aware of the hidden costs of going to college. Consult with the target college representatives, talk to enrolled students and alumni, and read or watch student blogs. You will probably discover a lot of helpful information about meal plans, housing, insurance, parking costs, and so on. One of the other educational expenses lurking behind the scenes is the price of textbooks and other learning materials.
High College Costs and Textbooks
Whatever college you end up studying and whatever major you choose, you will need to bury yourself in books, especially the first couple of years. You will be expected to get a textbook (or two—the more, the merrier) for every class you enroll into, read tons of supplementary literature if you want to pass the finals, and get a few more books on top of that—just to write that 5-page response paper.
Recent estimates have shown that, on average, a student at an American college spends more than $1,000 on books per year. Think of students who end up being in higher ed for five or six years, or those studying for MAs and PhDs? That’s a fortune spent on materials, and they might not even end up being useful for you. So can a student avoid or at least cut these costs?
In some cases (for example, with specialized monographs), libraries and scholarly databases can help, but no library or college can ensure that enough copies of textbooks for all undergrads are out there. The price of educational materials (academic articles and monographs) is so high that even the wealthiest universities can’t afford to buy all the existing subscriptions.
Moreover, textbook publishers regularly introduce new editions, deeming the older ones useless—libraries simply can’t catch up. Specific colleges ask professors to assign only open access literature for their courses, but so far, it is more of an exception to a rule.
College Textbook Rental as a Way out
One of the best solutions at hand is to resort to textbook rental and get study literature, such as reference materials, exam guides, and so on way cheaper than in a college bookstore. It is an excellent solution that has already worked for many students who managed to cut at least these costs. Almost every textbook you would end up buying for $100 can be rented for… around $20 per semester. If this is not penny wise, I don’t know what is.
Of course, college textbook rental is not a solution to the inherent problem of the U.S. higher ed system. However, choosing the way you acquire your study materials is something students can take control of and save up some money (that they can use towards repaying the debt, for example), especially when it’s so easy and convenient.
There are a bunch of options to rent textbooks online. BookScouter aids you in finding the best textbook rental company to get your books from. Of course, you would save even more if you choose the right vendor! Delivery options and renting conditions vary from vendor to vendor, so read their terms carefully.
Rent Textbooks and Reduce College Costs with BookScouter
First, identify textbooks and other materials you need for your courses. Search for the ISBN number or the title here and get quotes from various vendors. Then compare the prices and conditions to pick the best. Also, check the purchase prices—maybe you can get a used copy of a textbook you need for almost the same price. BookScouter is exceptionally convenient for comparing these options and choosing what suits you best.
Check our article on how to save money when renting textbooks. All steps of the process are explained, and all pros and cons of textbook rental are discussed.