Plenty of college students avoid spending a lot on textbooks that can cost from around $20 for a book on writing grant proposals to $400 for a physics book, a spring IowaWatch/College Media Journalism Project revealed.
Often, they rent books, which can save an average $29 per book, depending on the subject. They also rely on information they can find on the internet, sometimes as a first reference.
Some students interviewed for the reporting project said they don’t even open some textbooks.
To be fair, faculty at Iowa colleges and universities said — even as they expressed concern about rising textbook costs — it costs a lot of time, brain power, editing and other preparation to produce these scholarly works.
This IowaWatch Connection radio report and podcast lets you hear the voices of students, faculty and staff trying to ensure that students use their learning tools effectively.
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The 2018 IowaWatch/College Media Journalism Project:
Student journalists working with IowaWatch conducted more than three dozen interviews in February and March for this report. Those journalists are:
Lauren Wade, Maria Curi, Helaina Thompson and Hannah Archambeau at the University of Iowa; K. Rambo, Alex Connor, Caitlin Yamada, Jill O’Brien and Naye Valenzuela at Iowa State University; Amber Krieg at Loras College; Sabrina Bryant, Keegan VanDevender, Jasmin Sonnenschein, Jace Neugebauer, Jimmy Ott and Helene Larsen at William Penn University; Kylee Deering, Olivia Wieseler, Emily Kenny, Kyle Wiebers, Tyler Brunner, Madeleine McCormick and Alyssa Donnelly at Buena Vista University; Sofia Legaspi and Anna Flanders at the University of Northern Iowa; and Blake Carlson and Zoe Seiler at Simpson College.
Special thanks to Andrea Frantz, Buena Vista; Matt Wagner, William Penn; Craig Schaefer, Loras College; and Emily Barske and Mark Witherspoon, Iowa State Daily.