Financial Woes This Back To College Season? You're Not Alone

Family, Self

Getting back into the classroom is more expensive than you'd expect.

We all hear about the high cost of education these days and this month I saw it firsthand when I helped my husband at the community college off-campus bookstore that we own on the first few days of the semester. I don't get too involved, but those early days we need all hands on deck.

Now, when we think about college costs we usually think about tuition—or at least I do—but working in the bookstore, I see how even the cost of textbooks is overwhelming. It's really sad to see a student come to the counter with a stack of books and when they get the total they surmise that they can only buy one or two books now and will have to wait for their next paycheck to get the rest. Sometimes they're $10 short, but that's easy to solve with an on-the-spot discount.

Community college students are often fully employed and their own source for support, and I can easily see how hard they are working and how committed they are to moving forward in their lives. So when I'm checking them out I can't help but be skeptical that a 130 page paperback text can cost three times more than a 500 page hardcover or 30 times more than a novel.  Who gets to decide what the price point is?

Anyway, that’s my rant and rave about textbooks and the high cost of education. Do I have a solution? I wish I did. All I know (or at least wonder) is that we as a society need to ensure that we all have equal access to higher education. If the financial hurdles are too high for some, aren't we promoting that gap between those that have and those that have not?

And, don't get me started on the whole student loan fiasco.  That’ll have to wait for another day.

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This article was originally published at Jane Honeck. Reprinted with permission from the author.