Study Finds Majority of College Students Delay Purchasing Textbooks Due to Cost
BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The high cost of textbooks is forcing an overwhelming majority of
college students to delay or avoid purchasing required postsecondary
According to a new study conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of
VitalSource®, 85 percent of U.S. college students admit they have either
postponed buying required materials or chosen not to buy them at all.
Almost all (92%) the students who delayed or skipped buying textbooks
cited costs as the reason for their decision.
“The results of this study are enormously troubling,” said Dr.
Michael Hale, Vice President of Education for VitalSource. “Students
need all of their required course materials in order to succeed in the
classroom. At a time when tuition is on the rise and student debt
continues to break records, we need to remove extra cost burdens on
students – and curbing the cost of course materials is a commonsense
The Wakefield study also found 70 percent of students surveyed consult at
least three sources when shopping for course materials and
textbooks, a time-consuming and confusing process that can further
contribute to the delay in acquiring materials. These materials are
produced by a wide range of publishers and learning solutions companies,
and the availability of openly developed resources (OER) continues to
Other key findings include:
Only one in ten students (11%) consult just one source when purchasing
The average student consults four sources when shopping for course
Most students (86%) believe they would get better grades if they had
access to interactive e-textbooks and digital tools, rather than
Seven in 10 students say they would have better grades if they had
access to required textbooks and course materials before the first day
Majority of students (73%) would be interested in paying for course
materials as part of tuition.
“Students and faculty need course materials from a wide range of content
providers, but they need them at affordable price points, on the first
day of class. That’s why we’re seeing growing demand for digital course
materials across all college campuses nationwide. In fact, this past
spring VitalSource provided students access to course materials from
hundreds of publishers at over 65% savings through Inclusive Access
programs at more than 350 institutions. Overall, student purchases of
digital textbooks at VitalSource has more than doubled so far this
year,” said Pep Carrera, President of VitalSource.
Dr. Hale added, “As a former college professor, I know how
important it is for students to have access to critical materials on the
very first day of class – they shouldn’t have to waste time shopping at
multiple stores and websites just to try to save a few dollars.
Inclusive Access programs use materials that are produced by a wide
range of publishers and digital learning companies, as well as a growing
catalog of open educational resources (OER), allowing our partner
institutions and campus stores to embrace digital course materials while
deploying smart strategies to raise postsecondary outcomes, promote
success, and save time and money for students.”
About VitalSource | get.vitalsource.com
VitalSource Technologies LLC, part of Ingram Content Group, is improving
the learning experience by making it easier to create and deliver
effective and affordable content. The preferred choice among educational
institutions and companies for digital learning materials, VitalSource®
helps over 1,000 educational content providers create and deliver
seamless interactive learning experiences through its exclusive
Bookshelf® platform to millions of learners at 7,000 institutions.
Bookshelf users opened more than 20 million digital textbooks last year
and read more than 3.4 billion pages. Follow VitalSource on Twitter at @VitalSource.
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