Programs Initiated to Bring Down College Textbooks Prices
Todayís college textbooks are undoubtedly unaffordable for many categories of students who study in superior educational establishments throughout the United States. The overall prices of curriculum-required, extensively used college textbooks are rising continuously, determining increasingly larger numbers of students to stop attending to classes and even turn away from college and university for good. According to statistics, college textbook prices havenít ceased to rise since 1986, the costs of such products tripling over the last two decades. Recent estimates also indicate that students at four-year schools spent around 0 for their required textbooks and other similar study materials over the period of the 2003-2004 school year. Due to the exaggerated costs of college textbooks, more than 60 percent of students in the United States canít afford to buy all the course materials they need, and thus fail to pass their exams and even fail to graduate from school.
Although they havenít paid the right attention to the phenomenon in the past, government representatives and faculty chairmen have recently initiated various projects that focus entirely on reducing the prices of college books. Hoping to put an end to the pronounced crisis behind college textbooks, state legislators are also currently developing new sets of specific laws that aim to bring down the prices of study materials. This year, more than 40 bills and resolutions will be gradually introduced in around 15 states. According to the National Association of College Stores, other states have also promised to take proper action in order to make textbooks affordable to all categories of students.
States are following various approaches in their effort to cut down the prices of college textbooks, developing different solutions according to their available resources. For instance, the states of New Jersey and Illinois have initiated multiple rental programs, while the states of New York and Maryland are focusing on exempting the prices of college textbooks from the local sales tax. In addition, the government has decreed that all state faculties respect a series of norms and regulations. Thus, the state of Virginia doesnít allow college and university faculties to accept publisher interests, the state of Washington imposes school faculty chairmen to only use low-price study materials, and the state of Connecticut imposes that college textbooks publishers disclose the prices of such materials to faculties.
While these initiatives have been successfully embraced in some American states, certain faculty chairmen find the solutions provided by the government inefficient and offensive, stating that the laws should primarily target textbook publishers, not faculties. However, due to the existing set of interstate commerce laws, legislators canít directly sanction publishers and try to solve the costs problem by requiring faculties to respect certain specific rules instead. Furthermore, government representatives have stated that the recently proposed programs and initiatives are only temporary, as it is very difficult to find a permanent solution for the problem of high college textbook prices in present. Perhaps the following months will bring better prospects in taking care of these issues once and for all.
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