EDITORIAL: SUNY works to reduce textbook costs for students

Editorial Staff

The SUNY Faculty Senate is implementing a system that will lighten the costs of textbooks for SUNY students across the state. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced the SUNY Affordable Learning Solutions initiative late last month. The program will provide alternatives to traditional textbooks at more affordable costs that options currently provided to students.

SUNY faculty and staff will be provided a service to identify the most cost-efficient or free educational resources for students. The program also endorses Open SUNY, a network of textbooks written by SUNY professors for SUNY students.

In January, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group released a report stating that 65 percent of college students had decided against purchasing a college textbook because of cost concerns. 94 percent of those who fell into that group were concerned that their grades would suffer as a result of not having the book. According to the College Board, students currently spend an average of $1,200 on books and supplies annually, and textbook prices have risen over the last 10 years at three times the rate of inflation.

At a time when tuition costs are at al all-time high — and SUNY tuition is set to be raised another $300 — it’s important that SUNY trustees do what they can to alleviate expenses for students.

Of course, the SUNY board could have voted against raising tuition, but that was unlikely to happen. After all, someone has to pay for Zimpher’s upcoming $200,000 salary raise and $430,000 residential brownstone in Albany. That someone is us!