By: Nicholas Schleh, Staff Writer
USM’s student senate and student body president are helping students combat the high costs of textbooks. The Student Senate and student body president, Katelyn Seavey, split the cost of $6,800 to ensure that every first and second year textbook could be made available to students who may not be able to afford them.
“Any student can go to the library and rent out the textbooks on reserve for a few hours,” Seavey said.
Previously, first year students could find textbooks for their 100 level courses at the library. The expansion of the program, led by Seavey and the Student Senate, now includes textbooks for 200 level courses as well, to ensure that USM offers an affordable education.
The decision was voted on by the student senate on Sept. 21.
“The Senate did vote on this and it was passed with the agreement that I fund half of it to be able to expand the program to all of the 200 level textbooks,” said Seavey., “Professors have to update their textbooks every now and then, so the textbooks for different classes are changing, therefore, we have to pay to update the books. We do not want to run into an issue down the road by not updating the textbooks on reserve.”
The Huffington Post reported that there has been an 812 percent increase in textbook prices since 1978 and the rise in prices for textbooks has exceeded the 559 percent increase in the cost for tuition and fees. the National Association of College Stores found that the average college student will spend $655 each year of their higher education on textbooks alone. With certain textbooks in the STEM fields costing up to $300 a piece, that yearly cost is much higher for some students. One of the main reasons for this exponential rate of growth for textbook prices is a constantly updating editions with little changes made and digital access codes that expire after the allotted amount of time, reported the New York Times.
“College is expensive enough as it is,” said Seavey. “Textbooks can add another heavy burden to student finances. I believe students should never have to choose between buying their textbooks and other necessities in life.”
The expansion of the program was a premeditated decision that has been in the works for a few months now, Seavey said.
“Chairwoman Varney and I had our sights set on this goal during the summer. We felt really passionately about keeping this program going and expanding it. It was a great way to help students,” she said.
The textbook reserve program has the latest versions of each required text, so that students and their professors can be on the same page when it comes to assignments and readings.
Students can borrow textbooks on the first floor of the Glickman Library and at the library in Gorham at the help desk. The textbooks are free to borrow with a student ID. Students may use the textbooks for two hours within the library and can request for a longer time if needed.
**A correction was made to specify that textbooks can be borrowed at the Gorham library as well as Glickman Library in Portland.**