Recently, I witnessed a student about to purchase a semester worth the books for their three classes. The total of the three books for the three courses was over $500. I quickly interrupted and mentioned another website that I’ve used time and time again to buy and sell.
A few ISBN numbers later and the student was now looking at a total of just under HALF of what they were going to originally spend.
Now this isn’t a post to complain about bookstore pricing or to promote a website I use.
Here is the analogy that I immediately thought of…when you go to a restaurant, let’s say Wendy’s, you are going to fulfill a need and are willing to pay for that need to be fulfilled, in this case hunger. When you purchase the value meal of a sandwich, side dish, and beverage – you are buying the whole package. That package includes the wrapper for the sandwich, container for the side dish, and cup for the beverage. They don’t charge you only for the meat, cheese, bread, liquid, etc. then add on additional costs for the wrappers, cups, bags, napkins. They wouldn’t get away with that.
Here comes to hammer…why does higher education?
Paying $500 for the tools to take classes for 15 weeks only to sell them back at half the original cost at the end of the semester is…robbery. Would people still go to Disney World if you have to pay the admission fee only to find out when you approached the Dumbo ride that you had to pay $30 to ride? Heck $3 to ride? Chances are the elite would because they have the money to spend but the masses? No way.
We are crippling our students by getting them in the door with massive loans only to then tell them they have to pay to learn.
I don’t care if tuition is $40K a year or $4K a year, books should be free.
You don’t join a gym then have to pay to use the weights.
You don’t go to an amusement park only to then have to pay to ride the attractions (minus the major ones like bungie jumping – consider those akin to lab fees).
You shouldn’t have to pay to learn from your classes, that’s what tuition is for.