The average annual cost of textbooks each year at a public four-year institution is $968, up from $898 in 2003-04 (Ithaca, 2007; U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2005). A student earning minimum wage in the State of Michigan will receive $7.15/hour (State of Michigan, 2007) and will work over 125 hours in order to pay for their college textbooks each year.
88,000 families in Michigan are living in poverty and could double their income if they had one thing: a college education (Andrews, 2007). These hard working individuals will fail to complete their degree because they are unable to afford the costs of attendance, manage their course schedule because of on going work commitments, or are unable to afford the necessary child care required in order to attend (Andrews, 2007).
Student success is about being able to afford a college education, graduating in a short period of time, and managing a responsible and reasonable amount of debt.
In order to support student success and keep the costs of higher education affordable we should stop using textbooks in our courses.
As an alternative, we could utilize journal articles available through the university library and original research accessible on the Internet (Lusk, 2007).
WMU could be a leader in championing student success by eliminating one of the most expensive costs of attendance: $900+ worth of textbooks each year.
Andrews, C. (2007). Wage gap in Michigan expanding, study says. Lansing State Journal. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/
Ithaca College. (2007). What is the average cost of books each year. Ithaca College. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from http://www.ithaca.edu/admission/faqs.php?
Lusk, B. (2007). UVSC prof. quits books. Daily Herald. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/229564/
State of Michigan. (2007). What is the Michigan Minimum Wage? michigan.gov. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from http://www.michigan.gov/cis/0,1607,7-154
U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2005). GAO-05-806, College Textbooks: Enhanced Offerings Appear to Drive Recent Price Increases. U.S. Government Accountability Office. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from http://www.gao.gov/htext/d05806.html