Tuition isn’t the only college cost that’s been increasing — a new report shows the cost of college textbooks has also risen dramatically. Rose Garr of the Iowa Public Interest Research Group says it cost students and average of 900 dollars for textbooks in the 2003-2004 school year. She says a similar survey eight years ago found students paid 642 dollars for their textbooks. She says that’s a price increase at twice the rate of inflation over that time period. Garr believes publishers artificially inflate prices by pushing cheaper used books off the market with new, but barely different editions of textbooks. She says publishers also bundle the books with additional instructional materials such as cd-roms. Jeremy Strohman is the textbook manager at University Book And Supply near the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls. He says they do work with faculty to find out if bundles are necessary and if they only need the textbook. He says if stand-alone textbooks are available they order them. He says unfortunately the stand-alone is often not available, but he says they do try to find out if they’re necessary. Strohman says publishers set the standard price for textbooks. He says his store uses the national standard mark-up of 25 percent on textbooks. U-N-I student body president Amliano Lerna says the textbook pricing hits everyone. He says “not only students are being taken advantage of, it’s their families as well, and the future.” He says the higher the cost of public education goes, the less opportunities there are for the citizens of Iowa. Strohman says he doesn’t know how to get the publishers to change their tactics. Garr says calling attention to the problem is an important first step. She says it may take legislative action to bring about the necessary changes.
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