Pricy supplies burden students

Pricy supplies burden students 

By Jo Early 

 Students are facing compounding financial pressure this semester as inflation collides with the cost of school supplies. Expenses stack up even after tuition is paid, and the first test of the semester is often figuring out how to afford it all.  

Required textbooks are often the most intimidating financial burden for college students. According to, the average college student spent between $628 and $1,471 on textbooks a year from 2021 to 2022.  

“I think required textbooks are unnecessary,” Red Tran, a digital communications and media major, said. “College students already pay so much for tuition; textbook costs should be a part of that tuition.” 

Some students have paid hundreds of dollars for a textbook that was never used. 

“Almost every book I bought was not used at all,” Jay Moss, a digital communications and media major, said. 

Textbooks might not be required even if they are listed on a syllabus. Julie Chavez, a journalism education major, said that she should have waited for the first day of class before buying the required textbook. 

“I would read the syllabus early, and if it said there’s a textbook, I would buy that textbook,” Chavez said. “And then when it came to that class time, they were like, ‘you don’t really need the textbook.’” 

In addition to costly textbooks, students invest in expensive tech equipment like laptops and tablets. 

“Because of the digitalization of schoolwork and work in general, it has made technology extremely necessary,” Tran said. 

Brooke Richards, a public relations major, said her iPad mini was a worthwhile investment. 

“Because it’ll last me for the rest of my college, for the next three semesters, and I won’t have to buy any notepads or anything, and then I can use it outside of classes,” Richards said. 

Students often feel pressure to keep up with trends outside of school supplies. Richards says she is influenced by the trends she sees on social media. 

“When AirPods first came out, everybody got AirPods,” Chavez said. “I was still with the cord headphones. So, I was determined to get them, but they were just so expensive.” 

Students can combat some of the cost through textbook rentals and services such as Project Gutenberg, which offers over 60,000 free eBooks.  

“Find the book cheap or online if you can,” Moss said. “Don’t waste money.”