Letter to the Editor: Textbook Prices Burden Students


Guest Writer

In this letter to the editor, Julia Archer, CALPIRGs 100% Clean Energy Campaign Visibility Coordinator, presents her organizations stance on excessive textbook costs. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the UCSD Guardian. 

To the Editor, 

It has long been known that one of the largest burdens placed upon university students, including us at UC San Diego, is the sky-rocketing price of educational materials, notably textbooks. While there are some groups in America who are prepared to spend tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars on upper education, as noted in the article, “Is Wealth Inequality Corroding American Democracy,” roughly “56 percent of Americans have less than $5,000 in savings.” The gross inequality in the nation’s population means that for many young Americans, the extraordinary cost of education puts it firmly out of reach.

While closing the wealth gap is a goal that will take generations to achieve, the chance to ease the costs of university is close at hand. Institutions across the country are facilitating the switch to open textbooks through grants to professors to update their lesson plans and larger grants for the creation of new open textbooks or course materials. Open textbooks are free and published under an open license, making them accessible to all. With open textbooks, professors can remix and revise open textbooks at no additional costs and students retain complete access at the end of the term. The California Public Interest Research Group is a statewide student-directed and student-funded organization working to protect our environment and public health, increase voting accessibility, and make college more affordable. Currently, CALPIRG is advocating for the UC Regents to implement its own Open Textbook Grant Program at the UCs, incentivizing faculty to transition their classes to open textbooks. With an initial investment of $1 million by the Regents, the UC’s could save students $10 million on course materials.

This grant will ensure that everyone in the UC system has an equal opportunity to succeed in education. The UC’s are seen as leaders in the realms of public education, and it is for this reason that the grant should be implemented by the UC Regents as soon as possible. It’s time for educational institutions to help relieve the burden of education on their students instead of adding to it, but first, it needs to be us students who take a stand and say enough is enough.


Julia Archer, Eleanor Roosevelt College Class of 2022

CALPIRG 100% Clean Energy Campaign Visibility Coordinator

Image by Freestocks on Unsplash.