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Students said a centralized location for used and online textbooks could ease annual expenses as the Student Association prepares to launch its online textbook exchange program.

The South African Senate voted last week to establish a textbook exchange program that students can purchase or exchange through Google Sheets, where users can view textbooks available for rent or purchase from others. students. More than 10 students said the initiative could help them find cheaper alternatives to textbooks instead of spending hundreds of dollars on new classroom materials every semester.

Senator SA Gabriel Young, CCAS-U, who sponsored the Hippo Community Library resolution, said the textbook exchange portal will help students connect with each other and lend or sell their books after they have had struggling to afford the high prices for textbooks in markets like the GW Campus Store. or Amazon. He said he hoped the Hippo Library could be available to students by the next spring semester.

“There are people who don’t even have a job, or who use their co-op funds to pay for their education,” Young said. “It will save students money and put money back in their pockets.

Young said members of the SA’s undergraduate education policy committee will post a Google Form link to the SA’s social media next month for students to submit their textbooks, post their selling points and share. their contact details. The SA members will then transfer the data from the form into a Google spreadsheet that all students can view and use to contact the person selling the book they hope to buy, he said.

Young said he drafted the resolution in response to a few complaints he had heard about the affordability of textbooks in conversations with students during his office hours since last year. He said the financial aid office website says students – especially those in STEM programs like biology or neuroscience – can spend up to $ 1,400 per semester on textbooks and school supplies, which can not be affordable for the average student.

He said each box on the worksheet would show the class associated with each textbook, links to online PDFs, and contact details for students willing to donate those textbooks. He said centralizing textbook resources would help students save time typically spent finding required readings for the class.

“I want this to be a resource that is continually updated so that students in the future can use it, and it will be a good system that future academics can use as well,” he said.

More than 10 students said that the spreadsheet’s features, such as used textbook information and free PDFs, could help them avoid high textbook prices as they search for ways more affordable to get class materials.

Second-year student Natalia Perez, an international business student, said she searched Reddit for links to free textbooks and asked her friends to borrow materials to avoid paying the high price for textbooks. She said that even with the financial help of her parents, paying high prices for textbooks she will only use for six months is difficult to justify.

She said the SA’s online community library will facilitate the process of finding free alternatives to online textbooks and identifying affordable options.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get them or it takes so long to ship or they’re too expensive,” Perez said. “So trying to find cheaper alternatives is difficult.”

Sophomore Sara Ragsdale, a philosophy student, said paying for textbooks forced her to make “tough” budget decisions like she could buy groceries. She said that in addition to the community library, faculty could allocate more affordable materials and fewer textbooks to alleviate some of the costs, citing courses that require students to purchase nearly 10 books in total.

“A lot of it is the teachers – I have two classes that require nine textbooks each, and that’s absurd,” Ragsdale said.

Freshman Keely Busby, who is majoring in American studies, said he spent nearly $ 200 on textbooks for a single class this semester. They said they would like to see teachers make compulsory textbooks, especially workbooks, more readily available online, through systems like the Hippo Community Library.

“If there is a workbook, they can make it available to us through the campus website, college student center, or library,” Busby said.

Lauren Lafond, a political science graduate, said she had difficulty buying textbooks in the past because professors prefer newer editions, which are often more expensive than previous versions. She said buying used textbooks, which are often cheaper than new ones, can sometimes be a challenge if a professor needs a more recently published edition.

She said officials offering more textbooks for rent through the Gelman Library would make them more accessible to students. She said the Hippo Community Library wouldn’t have much of an impact on her since she’s a senior and won’t come into effect until spring, but it’s a great idea to keep costs down. textbooks for students.

“It’s just something you have to plan ahead, and it’s hard when the teachers don’t post the curricula or things like that right before school starts,” Lafond said. “So it’s definitely more difficult to get textbooks up front and save money for them. “

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