The College Textbook Bubble


Mark Perry has a chart showing yet another facet of the higher education bubble resulting endless government subsidies for college loans, etc. The growth in the cost of textbooks has outpaced not just inflation but other areas of rapid cost growth such as medical care:


The inflation of textbook prices is bad enough on its own, but it’s all the more stomach-churning when you consider the lengths colleges go to force students to pay those prices instead of taking advantage of cheaper alternatives. Many universities, for instance, require that students only use the versions of textbooks found in the university bookstore. Minor revisions are made to textbooks every year which make it difficult for used books to be re-sold at discount prices in the private market.

One almost gets the idea that universities see students not as young minds to be trained and shaped for their careers but rather as vehicles for lots and lots of money, including government-backed student loans, to be brought into the university’s campuses.

That’s why so many universities seem to put such an emphasis on growing enrollment. When the goal is harvesting all that government-backed student loan money, quantity counts more than quality.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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