Are Private Universities Exempt from Student Concerns About Textbook Costs? A Survey of Students at American University

Lindsay Renee Murphy, David Rose


A survey conducted in the fall of 2015 at American University in Washington, DC shows that rising textbook prices similarly affect students at an expensive private university as those at community colleges and state schools. Research on high textbook costs that has demonstrated corollary unwanted behavior changes in students, including not purchasing the book, resorting to illegal online downloads, and poor study habits, were confirmed at American University as well. Solutions that have been proposed to this problem of prohibitive textbook prices, including Open Educational Resources (OER), could have an equally profound impact at American University, and potentially similar private universities, as has been demonstrated at less selective and more affordable counterparts.


Textbooks; cost; higher education; OER; open educational resources

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