Textbooks Spend Drops 30% Secondary Schools

The amount spent on textbooks and school supplies has decreased by over 30% in Essex’s secondary schools in the past five years. School budgets have been getting tighter due to the rising cost of books, teaching materials, and trips. Some schools had to cancel future school trips as a result. They’re relying on students and parents to purchase some of these materials for their classes.

It’s important for college students to save money in the coming back-to-school season. Along with the rising costs of tuition and fees, the last thing a student wants to do is spend thousands of dollars on books. There are several ways to buy textbooks that are affordably priced. Here are nine ways to save money on books that don’t have anything to do with shady online sellers.

1. Open Educational Resources

The best thing you can do is become an advocate for open educational resources. Maybe this will influence your college to start its own open-source pilot program. Your professors could end up teaching entry-level college courses without the need for traditional college books. Students would still get that college experience through open source materials such as audio lessons, digital books, interactive lessons, media-rich documents, and video content.

2. Share Your Books With a Friend

Sharing is always a good thing to do. One of the best ways to save money on books is to share a book with a friend or classmate. You could even go half on a new book if you prefer. Not only will you have a new book, but you’ll also end up with a study buddy. It’s best to find someone who lives in your dorm, or has a class schedule similar to yours so you can exchange books easily.

3. Searching the Best Deal

The next thing you can do is shop around for the best deal on college books. There are plenty of online marketplaces that allow students to buy, rent, and sell books. You’ll find the best prices because you have the option to choose from thousands of rental providers and verified sellers. You can sell some of your used books for the highest price online.

4. Textbook Alternatives

Who says that you even need a book for class? There are plenty of textbook alternatives such as digital books, interactive flashcards, practice quizzes, and course summaries. While most of these resources are free, some are available for less than $20. But you’ll end up saving hundreds less on one book alone. By searching the internet, you can get access to academic content and resources for a low price.

5. Purchase an Older Edition

While these books are edited and updated on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy the latest version. Instead, you could just buy textbooks that come in an older edition. This can be more affordable than buying the latest version. Ask your professor to ensure that the edition you’re purchasing still has the material you need to pass the course. While an older edition can make it difficult to follow along with the rest of the class, it’ll be well worth the savings.

6. Open Source Textbooks

There are open source libraries that offer copyright-free books available for you to download. Again, you’ll need to ask your professor if these books are fine to use for your class. Most professors don’t recommend going this route, but it has been a growing trend in recent years. These books are peer-reviewed and written by professionals. Not only are they great for class, but they make for great brush-up material after graduation.

7. Tax Credit

College students are able to claim the money they spent on school materials as a tax credit thanks to the American Opportunity Tax Credit. That means you could receive up to $2,500 tax credit.

Keep in mind this is not the same as a tax deduction in which the dollar amount is taken off the entire tax bill. Find out the requirements on the IRS website and apply if you qualify. Keep all of your receipts if you intend on filing a tax credit claim.

8. Go Digital

Digital books or e-books are slowly becoming popular among college campuses. It’s more affordable to buy or rent an e-book than a hardcover. Not only will you pay less, but you’ll also have the added portability of carrying your digital books on camps. You can carry all of your e-books for each class on a tablet without weighing down your back. The refund and return process is easier than ever. You don’t have to go to the bookstore or return your books in the mail.

9. Rent Books

Renting books can save you time and money of finding the best buyers to use. Since course materials are updated regularly, buying and selling your own books is harder than ever. There are instances when the books have updated or the student doesn’t take the same courses that you do. Avoid this option by renting to save money on textbooks.

This list should provide you with some easy ways to afford college books. Try some or all of these methods to see which ones work for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about affording books when you have to worry about paying the tuition before you graduate.

Thanks to Evelina Brown

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