Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and course materials, and prices have been rising more than for times the rate of inflation for the past two decades!

It’s no accident that textbooks are so expensive. Publishing companies are raking in huge profits while engaging in bad practices that drive up costs: issuing new editions that make used books hard to find, bundling textbooks with unnecessary CDs and pass-codes, and more. They get away with it because students don’t have a choice -- we’ve got to buy the book they’re selling, even if the price is outrageous.

The good news is that we're making progress. Students can save hundreds through discounted options like renting, used books and bookswaps on campus.  

The real momentum comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%. Open source textbooks are faculty-written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks, but they're available free online, free to download, and affordable in print.

So we're fighting to rein in costs by promoting cost-saving solutions on campus, while also tackling publishers' stranglehold on the market to change prices for good.  We're educating students, faculty and bookstores, and raising awareness through research and the media. We're also calling on publishers, colleges and foundations to give faculty the training and resources they need to adopt open-source textbooks and save students millions each year.

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

Trouble in Toyland

The 2012 Trouble in Toyland report is the 27th annual U.S. Public Interest Research Group survey of toy safety. In this report, U.S. PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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News Release | OSPIRG | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group’s 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB launches searchable credit card complaint database today | Ed Mierzwinski

Joining agencies including those that regulate cars (NHTSA's safercar.gov), toys and other consumer products (CPSC's saferproducts.gov), medical devices (FDA's Maude) and airline service (DOT's sorta clunky Air Travel Consumer Protection Re

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Media Hit | Higher Ed

Bank deals stack on additional fees for students with financial aid

As many as 900 colleges are pushing students into using payment cards that carry hefty costs, sometimes even to get to their financial aid money, according to a report to be released Wednesday by a public interest group.

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Media Hit | Higher Ed

Students Lose When Financial Aid Goes Onto Fee-Laden Debit Cards

Thought the student loan crisis was bad as it is? Now add hefty fees into that mix. Providers say students can avoid the fees that pile up when they elect to receive their financial aid on a debit card, but new research from a consumer advocacy group finds that these companies throw up roadblocks to keep the fee revenue rolling in, even as colleges make big bucks off their affiliations with these institutions.

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