Recently, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette made headlines for a $1,000 eBook. The access code for an introductory accounting course was purposefully priced at almost 4x the cost of the printed textbook. Criticism of the university and publisher spread quickly over social media, accusing them of price manipulation and scamming students into more debt. UL-Lafayette’s response did not do much to assuage anger, causing much disbelief that the institution acted on “good intentions.” Even further providing fuel for the fire when the price of the digital version was changed to match the print version and not significantly lower like most digital texts.
My student loan balance is over $20,000. I don’t own a home, have kids, or go on vacations. I have too much credit card debt and not enough savings. I am 37. I am one of the 44 million Americans struggling with the financial hardships of getting a college degree, delaying and even refraining from participating in the life milestones that keep the economy functioning. Since the year 2000, the economy has gone through two recessions, wages of college grads continually decreased, lowering lifetime earning potential, and college costs steadily increased – the single largest increase in higher education costs is textbook prices.