Unnecessary textbook and resource expenses hinder student success


Jeffrey Zeldman | Flickr

The Editorial Board

It has been nearly one year since schools and colleges transitioned to distance learning instead of holding in-person classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The expenses a student faces each semester doesn’t just end at tuition. Many professors still require the purchase of textbooks. Sometimes, these textbooks are only good for one semester’s use.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic plagued New York City, Baruch College was an open campus.

It was not uncommon for Baruch students to visit the Newman Library and use available textbooks if buying the textbook was out of their financial reach. With the pandemic making this effort very difficult
for everyone, students have no choice but to buy their textbooks or fall behind in class.

Students are still paying full tuition for classes and for Baruch, a college known for business, the math of paying full tuition and full fees and for textbooks just does not add up when much of the resources being paid for are not accessible.

Even if a student chooses to rent their textbooks, such as from Amazon, they do not get their money back once they return the books, and if they are late to return the texts, they get charged even more.

The library situated at Baruch is however helpful with providing laptops if needed.

Since many students have faced financial distress during such an economical mayhem the pandemic came to be, it is only reasonable for Baruch to provide free access to these textbooks virtually, as PDFs, no
access code needed. Not only would this cut down on expenses of students in a financial struggle, it would also be eco-friendly.

Under the same umbrella, many students are also paying for in-class materials that they will never receive or get to use.

Baruch students in Organic Chemistry, CHM 3003, had to pay $30 in materials and transaction fees for one semester. On top of this, many students had to spend money out of pocket to print out and staple
online homework, which came to around $45. In order to get the lab manual, it was a whopping $126 on top of all of that.

Expenses such as activity fees and technology fees are a reasonable cost during this pandemic. However, lab fees toward science students are not justified when the experiments usually conducted in class have been diluted to watching a pre-recorded video of someone else conducting it.

This also leaves no room for student-owned mistakes, avoiding another opportunity for hands-on learning like it was before the pandemic.

Although some students do receive financial aid for college, making textbooks as accessible as they once were and cutting fees that have become outdated can help these students as well.