Thursday, September 28, 2017

Attempting to cut the cost of education

On average, college students pay more than $1,000 for textbooks each year.

That's why Congress is stepping up and trying to ease the burden on students.

Senator Dick Durbin has been a leader in this fight for seven years and has been successful in requiring textbook companies to be more transparent and using online versions when possible. 

However, even with provisions in place, he says textbook costs are still skyrocketing.

"I feel for a student who's in my class, who is suffering because they can't afford a textbook," said University of Illinois Springfield Associate Professor Layne Morsch.

Morsch, decided to take a leap and create his own way for students to save money. He launched an online textbook which began a trend at UI campuses.

"We find information on the web. We look things up on the web, so I'm trying to teach them, there's good sources to find quality information that you're going to use when you're professional in your career," said Morsch.

This is just one avenue Senator Durbin wants to see at all colleges and universities under the Affordable College Textbook Act. He also wants to go one step further to fund grant programs so more professors can create digital sources.

The bill would also require textbook companies to not sell books in bundles. "It's unfair that we have to buy them and then don't even get to use them that much."

While online resources are becoming more popular, Morsch says students should also be able to keep digital copies for future use.

"What they do is... they sell you access. You'll get access for one year is less than buying the textbook, but after that year is done, you have no access," said Morsch.

The UI was one of the first to test digital textbooks.

Senator Durbin says many companies are still trying to keep print copies alive and charging more for books which change a few lines in the next edition.

This story aired on WCIA on September 27, 2017.

Read the entire story online.