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Ohio colleges working together to drive down the costs of textbooks

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 18:24:42-04

The astronomical price of textbooks has caused several schools across Northeast Ohio to band together and fight to drive down prices.

A potential savings of nearly $40M is on the way for college students across Ohio.

Books are a vital component to most college courses and usually come with a hefty price-tag.

"It makes it very tight," said Jameesha Alexander.

Alexander is studying economic development at Cleveland State University.

"Some of these textbooks can run to like $200 to $500 depending on the course material," said Alexander.

Some semesters, Alexander struggles to make ends meet.

“A lot of college students, we have the ramen noodle diet," said Alexander.

Alexander, like many of her classmates, has taken drastic steps and skipped buying books.

"Just so I can make it a little easier financially because it was very difficult," said Alexander.

CSU is now joining forces with nearly 100 other Ohio colleges and universities to tackle the high cost of textbooks.

"That's definitely something they should work on for us because that would take a load off of every student," said CSU student Xavier Wasco.

Based on their combined buying power, the schools just negotiated lower prices with four major publishers, which could slash costs up to 80%.

"You do the math real quick. Four classes at $200 a book," said Alexander.

News 5 has learned freshmen and sophomores could see the biggest savings since there is less book volume at the junior and senior levels, according to CSU Provost Jianping Zhu.

The amount students can save will also depend on their professor. Faculty can also decide whether they want to choose course materials available in the program.

"The administration cannot mandate a particular textbook that faculty must use," said Zhu.

CSU is also rolling out a new plan next year that will give thousands of freshmen the chance to get access to English course materials starting on the first day of class.

"They don't pay when they arrive here as out of pocket cost. It's included in their tuition bill," said Zhu.

Right now, CSU is also reminding professors to keep costs in mind when selecting course materials.

"We are encouraging more faculty to join in that effort to either develop their own or look at nationwide, open access, free material that's of good quality to benefit our students," said Zhu.