Soaring prices & student expenses in Vancouver

Dec 19 2017, 3:06 pm

Students across the country are acquiring more and more debt than ever before, despite grim job prospects. Although used textbooks are a cheap alternative, what if you got them for free? Though one textbook is a small expense in the grand scheme of schooling, the recipients are elated at the prospect of one less expenditure (especially on the week that residence and term fees are due).

The Canadian Federation of Students estimates the typical costs for post-secondary texts at $500 – $1000 each semester. E-textbooks may have a cheaper ticket price, but still require shelling out several hundred dollars for the tablet itself. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations recently informed a Senate committee in Ottawa examining Canadian book prices that the prices of textbooks have risen 280% over the past 15 years, a figure which is close to 10x the rate of inflation.

Textbook Money Saving Tips

  • Read the syllabus in full before making any purchases – some books might be listed as required, but only have 1 or 2 chapters assigned, making them opportunity to take advantage of libraries.
  • Get the syllabus as soon as possible. The sooner you begin searching for books, the more likely you are to score a deal. If the professor does not post their outlines until the semester begins, try asking them if they will be using the same course outline and readings as they did last semester. Even if an edition is specified, it is worth inquiring with the professor if another edition is acceptable.
  • If international edition textbooks can be legally imported to your area, purchasing one may save money.
  • If you are assigned anthologies, investigate which of the assigned readings can be obtained via online resources such as JSTOR (which post-secondary students are given access to via their institution).
  • Portions of books are sometimes available for free online. Try searching the books you need to see what is available before making a purchase.
  • Online classifieds also provide a great platform for connecting with those who just did the course and have a slightly used copy of the textbook at a discount, and for re-selling your books once you are finished with them.

Photo: Vivid Photo Visual / Alamy

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