Pricey Education

Sabrina Catalan, copy editor

For most students, investing a few extra dollars on a study guide for “Lord of the Flies” seems reasonable, especially if an “A+” is reaped. However, what if students were asked to dish out $100 or $200 for their own textbook, such as in college?

From kindergarten to their senior year of high school, students aren’t expected to pay thousands of dollars each year for good quality textbooks because Miami Dade County Public Schools strives to provide each student with equal education opportunities, regardless of household income. Instead, every student is able to use school textbooks free of charge.

Students also have a copy or additional textbooks available to them online by logging into their student portal on, allowing them to access their books anywhere. Still, there are some students who prefer to purchase their own textbooks either for extra reference or to study with the most up to date material.

“In 7th grade, I purchased a pre-algebra textbook because I wasn’t able to take home the book from class,” junior Ashley Fernandez said. “I needed the extra practice, so I bought a used book for $50. It was worth it because I got to review the material at home and not fall behind in the class.”

Similarly, students in Broward County have run into classes where they’ve been driven to purchase a textbook.

“During senior year, I felt that I needed to invest in buying a textbook, since I wanted to impress colleges by performing well in my AP European History class,” Somerset Academy high school graduate Krystal Pepeta said. “It really helped because I was able to mark up the textbook with notes and highlights, which isn’t allowed with school-issued books.”

Arthur Gettinger and Angel Carrasquillo, seniors at Miami Palmetto Senior High, are taking neutral grounds, assessing the pros and cons of students buying their own textbooks.

“Usually, the textbooks given are outdated hand-me-downs,” Gettinger said. “The same textbooks are available online, which is good, but what if there is a power outage? Not to mention that some textbooks contain notes that are unreliable from previous students.”

Carrasquillo had his own points.

“On the student portal, online textbooks can sometimes become inaccessible when there is an Error 404 code,” he said. “So having your own textbook can be beneficial.”

In college, when students are asked to purchase textbooks the idea is expected, but not many students follow through. Instead, they find alternatives in order to save money, which is a common priority among most college students.

In 2014, College Board estimated that the average student in the U.S. spent $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies alone. Business Insider later stated that the reason textbooks are so expensive is because professors assign specific additions and just five publishers have dominance over the market, which allows price gouging.

“When my daughter went to college, she rented her textbooks from because they offered discounted prices,” Ms. Expositio, a business and finance teacher at Miami Palmetto Senior High, said. “She also shared textbooks with some of her classmates and took advantage of the PDFs and websites available on the internet—featuring the newest and most up to date information.”

In the end, buying a textbook should be up to the student and their learning style. Some need to review the lesson a few times at home, while others find it easier to search up an online video of how to turn point- slope form into standard form. Whatever the case, there is nothing wrong with students spending extra money on their education if it is to their benefit.