Spending on student course materials drops

Arianna D'Antonio, Worldview Editor

Student spending on course materials has dropped nearly 50% over the last decade, according to the Association of American Publishers. Loyola senior Roxana Coriano said it may be due to students’ inability to afford materials.
“Knowing that college is already expensive, students are mindful about their money and how much they spend,” Coriano said.
Student Watch, funded by the National Association of College Stores Foundation, reported a decrease in spending by 48% over the last decade. According to Lacey Wallace, a research analyst at the association, this is the “lowest (the organization) has recorded over the past 15 years.”
Coriano, who is a biology pre-health major and chemistry minor, said that while she believes students are less likely to buy course materials because they don’t have the money on hand for such “frivolous” expenses, students need their course materials “to keep up quality academic work and remain interested in learning new information through the course.”
Laura Knox, the director of education policy and programs at W.W. Norton, worked closely with representatives across the industry and said content providers have begun to focus on providing more affordable options for students.
“Affordability is just one piece of the puzzle. Publishers provide engaging, relevant, up-to-date content that helps students understand and retain material, setting them up for success in the classroom and beyond. When these high-quality materials are priced fairly and are delivered in a convenient way for students, there’s exceptional value in that,” Knox said.
Kelly Denson, the vice president of education policy and programs for AAP, said higher education publishers have been inclined to focus on both quality and affordability moving forward.
“Publishers have dramatically expanded their offerings, providing high-quality content and courseware within delivery models like Inclusive Access, and rental options in addition to digital, loose leaf print, and individual learning apps. The result gives both faculty and students the freedom and flexibility to choose the materials that work best for their financial and academic needs,” Denson said.
Knox said that the industry is, and has been, on the right path.
“If the past few years are any indication, students will continue to see new and innovative ways to access affordable content,” Knox said.