04:50 PM

College Board Textbook Spending Figure Often Misused

by Amanda Straub, Special Assistant for Policy, Higher Education


e-Literate blogger Phil Hill recently shed additional light on why the often-quoted $1,300 College Board figure for yearly student spending on textbooks is not quite correct. In his post, he rightly points out that media outlets and open source proponents fail to read the footnotes in College Board’s explanation.

This often turns into the misleading headlines and sensational stories we see this time of year.

AAP also recently wrote on this issue explaining how this information is used incorrectly. College Board specifically points out that expenses in that category don’t necessarily reflect student spending but rather is based on institutional budgets for students reported by colleges. The expense category also includes supplies – things like laptops, tablets, printers and lab supplies.

In fact, recent research suggests that students actually spent much less on textbooks in the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Independent research firm Student Monitor found the average spend was $607
  • National Association of College Stores Student Watch Report placed the average spend at $602

Publishers and education companies are doing their part to reduce the high cost of college by partnering with colleges on Digital Discount Programs. This new initiative:

  • Offers substantial discounts – sometimes up to 70% - on digital materials
  • Guarantees students have course materials on the first day of class
  • Helps with the transition to digital materials, which are known to increase student success
  • Conveniently allows students to pay for course materials when paying for tuition and fees

For more information on Digital Discount Programs or how publishers are helping students cut costs and achieve more, visit www.aapbacktocampus.org.