To the editor:

As a North Shore Community College student, I would like to address an issue that we face -- affordable access to textbooks.

I would argue that the biggest draw to a community college education is the lower cost, and while NCSS is more affordable, the extremely high cost of textbooks and increasing use of access codes is making this draw less realistic.

I have spent around $1,000 on textbooks this past year. At NSCC, this is almost the price of two three-credit courses. I currently have two jobs and the majority of the money I earn goes toward buying textbooks. Working part time leaves me with far less time for homework and other school activities.

Publishing companies are taking advantage of students by encouraging courses to require the use of an access code. Access codes force students to buy a single-use password, which is sometimes only available bundled with the expensive newest edition of a textbook. These are required in order to access homework, required texts, and even tests!

The solution – open educational resources, free to read and cheap to print and written under an open license, making it easy for professors to adapt them for their classes. MassPIRG’s Affordable Textbooks campaign is working to educate our campus communities on the impacts of expensive textbooks, encourage faculty to transition to open textbooks, and establish permanent funding and campus policies that promote open textbooks.

Emma Rukeyser


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