Cost of textbooks just as ridiculous as college tuition

Credit: Kyung Min Lee/ Credit: Kyung Min Lee/

The Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced to Congress on Oct. 8. The act seeks to lower the cost of educational textbooks and reading materials used by college students across the nation by "expanding the use of open textbooks (and other open educational resources) that everyone can use, adapt and share freely," according to the website for Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

Given that an individual student's annual budget for textbooks has risen to a nationwide average of over $1,000, it is high time that the government acknowledged the outrageous amount of money necessary to receive a college education.

Why stop at open access for textbooks? The price of textbooks is just a small part of the larger cost of college education. The passage of this act would signify a step in the right direction, but it could also be used to start a larger conversation, both about overall college costs and other legislation related to open resources for education that is currently being discussed. For example, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would mandate that the results of research funded by taxpayer dollars be released earlier in order to improve accessibility.

This legislation shows American society's commitment to education, as it provides opportunities to better students' lives through learning and to advance society through important research that should be easily accessible.

These acts seem self-justifying, and yet they are still up for discussion amongst our political leaders. The Tartan hopes that not only will this legislation pass, but that it will spark a larger conversation about the cost and value of education and the ways we make knowledge accessible.