As you work your way through college, you already know that your tuition and fees are going to continue to mount. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that it is expensive to attend college. Some students are able to earn scholarships and use other kinds of Federal Student Aid (FSA) to cover costs of tuition and fees. However, one cost associated with college can continue to pile up without you realizing just how much money you are spending: textbooks. Textbooks are a necessity for nearly every college course you will take. Publishers have their own tricks for making students pay an inordinate amount of money on their textbooks. If you adhere to the following advice, you may be able to cut your textbook costs drastically.
First and foremost, you may want to research potential schools and see if any of them offer books at no cost to the student. At American Public University (APU), required course materials and readings are provided at no cost to undergraduate students earning academic credit through the APU book grant. APU also offers ebooks, which are a more affordable option. If ebooks are an option at your university, you should opt to use them, as they usually are not as expensive to purchase. In addition, you should research potential schools to see if they offer free (i.e. included in cost of tuition/book grant) or reduced textbooks. Online schools or community colleges may be able to offer textbooks at a reduced rate.
To combat the higher cost of hard copy textbooks, you can try to purchase your books from an outside vendor. Amazon, Half.com, and other online shopping websites usually offer better deals. True, you may have to pay for shipping and wait for the textbook to arrive, but usually the cost of the textbook is still less even with shipping added. To make sure you have your textbook(s) in time for your classes, try to order them as soon as possible.
Matriculating your way through college is a proud accomplishment, but it is also very expensive. If you take some of the above advice, you may be able to save a little (or a lot) of money. Every saving counts, so make sure you do diligent research when it comes to textbooks.
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS