B.C. students say they are #textbookbroke

The student societies at UVic, UBC and SFU are running awareness campaigns to show just how much of a student's budget is now eaten up by purchasing textbooks.

Average textbook bill for students surveyed at UVic bookstore was $500

A student at UVic frowns over the cost of her textbooks. (UVSS/Facebook)

Some students in B.C. are taking to social media to show that they are #textbookbroke.

The student societies at UVic, UBC and SFU are running awareness campaigns to show just how much of a student's budget is now eaten up by purchasing textbooks.

"Over the last 10 years, prices have risen four times the rate of inflation in the textbook industry," said Maxwell Nicholson, the director of campaigns and community relations for the University of Victoria Student Society.

UVSS is posting photos of students with their textbook bill on social media to draw attention to the issue.

Students were surveyed this week as they left the campus bookstore at UVic, and the average textbook bill was about $500, Nicholson said.

Some in faculties such as engineering paid up to $1,000, he added.

Push for open education

Students are also hoping the campaign will push university administrators and the provincial government to make more educational resources available for free online.

"We also understand that the quality of the resources is the most important factor and often what makes the final decision for the professors," Nicholson told All Points West host Robyn Burns. 

"But we are also encouraging for affordability to be part of the discussion."

Some professors are already embracing the idea and adopting free textbooks for their courses, Nicholson said.

For example, Earth and Ocean Sciences 120 offered at UVic recently switched from a printed textbook worth $123.50 to a free online textbook offered through the B.C. Campus Open Textbook Project.


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