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Group at LCC searches for ways to ease burden of textbook costs

Students at Lane Community College are taking a stand against the rising cost of textbooks. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Students at Lane Community College are taking a stand against the rising cost of textbooks.

The average price for college textbooks rose 88% in a decade, according to the Labor of Bureau Statistics.

On Thursday, members of U.S. PIRG and OSPIRG chapter at Lane Community College released an investigative report entitled Open 101: an Action Plan for Affordable Textbooks.

The analysis includes new data about online access codes and other materials that have contributed to textbook prices rising more than three times the rate of inflation in the past decade.

OSPIRG Organizing Director Lucas Gutterman said the financial burden of textbooks could mean the difference between a student staying in school or dropping out.

"The college board estimates now that the average student pays $1200 per year, just on textbooks," Gutterman said.

Gutterman said students are not only paying for textbooks. More and more classes require them to pay for access codes - an online code that students need to turn in homework or take tests online.

"I think it's ridiculous that you have to pay to turn in your homework," said LCC student Sabrina Najaf-Pir.

Najaf-Pir said she spent more than $300 on access codes alone this term. She said she is paying for school out-of-pocket, and could have used that money on other necessities.

"My gas is affected, how many miles I can drive, if I can go visit my parents for that weekend." Najaf-Pir said.

Najaf-Pir and Gutterman said access codes also increase costs because students cannot borrow them from the library, buy them used, or sell them afterwards.

Now, OSPIRG and other LCC students are encouraging LCC staff members to adopt Open Education Resources. OERs are course materials that are free online and cheap to print. Many staff members at LCC have already adopted OERs, and Meggie Wright is the OER Librarian on campus. Wright helps students find free, affordable textbooks.

"We hear stories in the library from students about how they were thinking about dropping out because of the price of the textbooks," Wright said.

Ultimately, faculty members are free to assign whatever materials they deem necessary for the course. Many students hope they will consider them before making their decision.

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