When textbooks get expensive…

Posted on Posted in Financial Aid

We’ve all been there. You sign up for a class, pay tuition, and then are shocked to see how much textbooks cost. The added expense can at times exceed college tuition costs. So how to overcome? Here is a list of five ideas about how to get access to the books you need to succeed without going broke.

  1. Books on Reserve: Many professors put their own copies of the assigned required textbooks for the course on reserve in the library. Some schools use funds to purchase textbook that are particularly expensive and also provide them on reserve in the library for students to use. Books on reserve vary in availability, some can be checked out over night while others must remain in the library and can only be checked out for an hour. It would be well worth your time to send your professor an email and ask them if they have a copy of the book on reserve in the library. Even if they say no, it is still possible a copy may be there. Come to the library prepared with the title of the course, the instructors name, and the title and author of the assigned text. I’ve known several students who utilized the copy machine in the library and the book on reserve, saving them hundreds of dollars in textbook expense.
  2. Campus Text Book Reserve Funds: Some schools have programs with funding specifically aimed at helping students purchase textbooks. Other programs have their own little library of textbooks you can borrow for the semester. I highly suggest you search your particular campus for any programs aimed to help students with textbook costs.
  3. Share text with another student: Another alternative would be to share costs with other students. If you are taking a course with someone you know and trust it may be worth your while to share the cost and a single book. The important thing to keep in mind is scheduling, who will have the book when? How will you pass the book back and forth? How about exams, papers, etc. Make sure you have a clear plan that everyone involved agrees to before going down this road. That said, I’ve know students who share costs with their roommates, they take courses with the same instructor and share the text.
  4. GoFundMe: You could also fundraise to help offset the cost. GoFundMe has a segment for educational expenses and several students ask for help purchasing textbooks. Just last week, Niki Minaj went on there and paid tuition and book expenses for students who could prove they had a 4.0. Several other celebrities have a habit of helping out too.
  5. Used Books and Rentals: For courses outside your major it may help to rent textbooks. Book rentals are significantly cheeper. Rental companies provide a range of rental options. If you do choose to purchase, I strongly suggest purchasing used books. At times the pre-highlited marks in the book can help you make notes about the important points in the chapters and see the reading from another person’s perspective. You may use books for courses in your major throughout your academic career, be careful and make smart investments.

How do you find funds for expensive textbooks? Let us know in the comments below.

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