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June 4, 2007

Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable,

The U.S. Education Department's Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance has issued a report (May 2007) titled Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable. The report notes that although text book prices comprise just one component of the price of attending college, outlays for these books are very visible and frustrating to students and their parents. There has been a groundswell of criticisms against publishers, bookstores, and institutions of higher education that has translated into a mandate for action. The Committee offers a number of short-term solutions, such as text book rental programs and increasing financial aid to cover text book expenses for students who can't afford them. Efforts such as collaboration among faculty and institutions, innovations in alternative text book formats among traditional and nontraditional publishers, and the increasing use of digital technologies to meet student and faculty demands for appropriate learning materials are offered as longer term solutions. Some of the recommendations, such as increasing donations of text books to libraries, which can then in turn lend them to students, appear to be less practical than others.

Posted by P. Kaufman at June 4, 2007 7:19 AM