Over the past several years, many published reports related to the affordability of course materials have shown that as many as 69 percent of Tennessee students have delayed or avoided purchasing course material due to an increase in pricing. Additionally, 29 percent have opted out of the courses completely because of the soaring cost of textbooks.
I want to thank the Comptroller’s office, MTSU President Dr. McPhee, Andrew Oppmann and others for their innovative efforts to place textbooks in the college library two years ago. It's another step in the right direction in lowering the extremely high cost of college and reducing the college debt, which has amassed to over $1.7 trillion.
Disruption and innovation has helped lower the cost of textbooks. The average cost of college textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation over the past 10 years. The report shows that 69 percent of students skip buying required textbooks at some point in their college career due to lack of affordability. The mandated bundling of textbooks has increased cost. More open resource textbooks will help reduce cost and help students graduate on time.
In 2019, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville surveyed almost 2,000 community college students. Nearly half of the responses showed that both grading and academic progress were significantly affected due to the high cost of course materials with a cost of $300 or more.
The Tennessee Textbook Affordability Task Force has helped lower the cost of both textbooks, and other digital resources; this panel will continue to enhance affordability by providing innovative options for Tennessee students.
This report was completed at the request of Representative Mike Sparks and former Senator Delores Gresham, both of whom expressed concerns about the rising costs of textbooks. Related links to the report are below:
- Full Report https://comptroller.tn.gov/
- Snapshot https://comptroller.tn.gov/
About Rep. Sparks
Rep. Mike Sparks represents District 49, which includes a portion of Rutherford County including Middle Tennessee State University. Sparks resides in Smyrna and serves as a member of the House Commerce, House Education Instruction and House Finance, Ways & Means Committees, as well as the House Finance, Ways, & Means Appropriations Subcommittee.
Above Release from the State of Tennessee State House of Representatives