VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Open and Affordable Course Content

Textbook Costs Are Growing Too Quickly

  • Undergraduates at four-year public universities are expected to budget $1,250 on average for textbooks and supplies in 2019-20. (The College Board. Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets, 2019-20.)
  • Textbook prices have increased at over four times the rate of inflation since 2006 (U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs. 2016. Covering the Cost)

CPI data














Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, College tuition and fees increase 63 percent since January 2006.

High Textbook Costs Impact Student Success

  • In a survey of students from over 150 campuses, 65% of students reported not purchasing a textbook because of its high price (U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs. 2014. Fixing the Broken Textbook Market.)
  • In a survey of more than 22,000 Florida college students, students reported that the cost of required textbooks had caused negative impacts on academic performance and time to graduation, including earning a poor grade, failing a course, and not registering for a course. 

Florida Virtual Survey Results. Chart 1. Impact of Textbook Costs on Students.

(Florida Virtual Campus. 2016. 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey.)