Students press profs to open minds to cheaper textbooks

The Seattle TimesMarch 10, 2014 

Charles Woldorff and other UW students are trying to get more professors to use open online textbooks, which cost little or nothing.

DEAN RUTZ — The Seattle Times

In deciding which classes she’ll take every quarter, Alissa Ramberg often applies the textbook-cost-factor test: She figures out which professors require pricey textbooks, and avoids those classes.

The University of Washington senior and student-government senator, who is majoring in political science, has also put off taking classes — and even chosen alternative courses that still fill the requirement — to try to control how much she must shell out for books.

The price of college textbooks has risen at four times the rate of inflation in the past two decades, according to one study. Now, some Washington students are trying to gain some control over spiraling prices by asking professors to seek out less-expensive alternatives.

Last week, the UW Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution encouraging professors to consider using open textbooks — free or low-cost online versions — and other less-expensive materials.

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