Students press profs to open minds to cheaper textbooks | Local News | 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. At Tacoma Community College, students voted to use student funds for a pilot project that helps professors find online resources to substitute for textbooks. The Tacoma project, in its second year, paid for itself in just nine months. It has saved students $643,000, college officials estimate ... The State Board of Community and Technical College (SBCTC) has also developed its own Open Course Library, a project that assembled all curriculum materials online for the 81 most popular courses offered at Washington’s community and technical colleges. As part of that initiative, the state identified or helped create online textbooks and class materials for each course that could be purchased for $30 or less ..."