Marking the first major federal action to curb the skyrocketing cost of college textbooks, Congress approved legislation today that will bring down prices for millions of students.
In 2007 Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. The bill included several provisions to lessen the burden of student debt including:
- More than two billion dollars a year in additional funding for the Pell Grant program. The Pell Grant helps more than 5 million lower-income students each year.
- A new Income-Based Repayment program that allows student loan borrowers to repay their federal loans as a percentage of their income.
- Reductions in interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans.
Over the last three years, research conducted by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) and others have shown that textbooks are a growing cost of going to college. These studies also have found that the textbook industry is using a host of practices that drive up the price of college textbooks. In the fall of 2006, we interviewed faculty members, walked through bookstores and interviewed bookstore staff to uncover textbooks that reveal six types of textbook industry gimmicks. (October 2006)
Today's college students are under enormous financial pressure. The gap between tuition and fees and financial aid leaves many students working long hours through college, struggling to make ends meet, and graduating with large debts. The high cost of textbooks is yet another financial burden. MASSPIRG conducted a survey of 287 professors from a variety of disciplines at Massachusetts colleges and universities over the fall semester of 2006 to get their views on textbook industry practices that drive up prices. (February 2007)
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