Letter to the Editor: UConnPIRG's Affordable Textbooks campaign

A fresh semester can seem great to students until they see what textbooks they need, especially if the course is required.

On the first day of my required Organic Chemistry class, my professor presented the syllabus and told the class that we were required to purchase a course package priced at $400. This is a problem countless students face without a choice in the matter. Students can either excel in class and burden themselves financially or risk poor performance.

Another common problem students face is bundled class materials. The only way to get the workbook or access code included in bundled class materials is by buying a brand new textbook. This eliminates student options of used or rented books and was created by publishing companies to harm those markets. Enter open textbooks.

Open textbooks are published under an open license, and are accessible online for free and in print at a lower cost than traditionally published textbooks. Open textbooks can be remixed by professors or combined with other open textbooks to create a custom book.

The result of adopting open textbooks is students can learn with high quality peer-reviewed materials without the barriers of cost and professors can create the perfect book for their class. Additionally, students will not be placed in the uncomfortable position of choosing between their grades and their finances.

The cost of textbooks is increasing at over three times the rate of inflation, contributing to the rising cost of attending college. We need to take course materials costs seriously to keep college affordable.