Students at University of Louisiana at Lafayette were shocked at the $999.99 price of an ACCT 201 and 202 e-book required for accounting courses. The topic made headlines and sparked a discussion about textbooks and their affordability.
In a press release, ULL provost Jamie Herbert, PhD stated that the book was listed at that price to “discourage” students from purchasing the online version and instead buy the physical copy for around $300.
According to Herbert, “(The Department of Accounting and WileyPlus) believed it was best for the students to use a printed textbook since many of the materials in the (printed) book are needed for homework and classroom instruction.”
The publishing company shared this sentiment hoping that students would compare the prices of the ebook with that of the printed version.
Many students felt as if the university was not considering their current financial status and the price of tuition when the e-book was listed for $999.99. In an interview with the ULL student newspaper, The Vermillion, student Maddy Meaux voiced her frustration towards the university.
“I hate to down UL, and I hate to say this, but it’s obvious that (the university) doesn’t care much (about students),” Meaux said. “I’m a student; I work almost 30 hours a week to even pay a third of my tuition. The fact that we pay so much for tuition and we have to pay almost $1,000 for books is crazy.”
Herbert also stated that both the printed and e-book options are now $313 and that the cost is $156.60 per semester due to the text being used in two classes. Herbert also stated that the price was the result of a miscommunication between WileyPlus and the Department of Accounting.
“That was not a good strategy,” Hebert said, “That was the mistake. And then, failing to communicate that to our students was a mistake, and we own (up to) that.”
Hebert stated that, “We want to make it very clear to our students and the public that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette makes every effort to ensure that the materials required for courses are affordable.”
Students felt as if the university should’ve been straight-forward with their intentions and stated the circumstances. Vanessa Le, a public relations junior, also voiced her displeasure about how the situation was handled to The Vermilion, the school’s newspaper.
“I think (the university) definitely should have clarified (their intentions),” Le said, “I just thought it was a joke. It’s funny, after all of the things we have to pay for, putting a $999.99 price tag (on a book) and the fact they put it as $999.99 to try to cheat and make it seem a little bit better and not get to the four digits.”
Herbert said that he’s aware of the rising costs of books and understands what students are going through.
“I have concerns about the cost of textbooks myself,” Hebert said to The Vermilion. “[Textbooks] have escalated over the past decades to the point that it can be a deterrent to a student’s access to higher ed. I know this; I have daughters who went through college … I know this is terribly expensive.”
Hebert said that students are a main priority and that the University has done a good job in the past and will continue to do so.
“We care about our students,” Hebert said. “and we care about the cost and affordability of education here. We’re proud of the educational opportunities we provide at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but we’re also proud that we do that in (the) way that’s accessible and affordable to a wide swath of our society.”