The Recorder Editorial Board
On April 3, 2009 the Hartford Courant reported that Democrats in the state legislature have put forth a new budget proposal that would extend the 6 percent sales tax to the purchase of textbooks.
Combined with tuition increases, this would prove to be an added financial burden on students at CCSU and elsewhere.
Politicians everywhere continually stress the importance of a strong education in building the nation’s future. In an attempt to gain revenue, this new tax will be discouraging students from purchasing the necessary materials that they need to learn to the best of their ability.
Students already try to buy only the absolute minimum amount of textbooks due to their high costs and go out of their way to seek out used or relatively inexpensive copies from friends and online booksellers. When an additional cost is added on, many students will probably just refrain from buying textbooks even if their teachers recommend them or make them required texts.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the faculty does not help their students’ financial situation to the best of their abilities when it comes to textbooks. Many professors insist that students buy the newest edition of the texts that they assign because it’s more convenient and the publisher already provides them with a free copy. This prevents students from buying used books and older editions, which are always less expensive.
It also prevents students from being able to sell back their books at the end of the semester since the professors will be assigning a newer edition for the next semester or school year.
Professors should not upgrade to the newest edition until the material in the book is totally outdated. Typically, versions of textbooks that are one or two editions apart contain little or no difference, other than relatively insignificant information.
Another suggestion would be to reduce the overall assigned books. Professors could help their students by only assigning textbooks that students will use. There are countless instances where a professor will assign numerous textbooks and the students will only need to use very few, or none of them at all.
And everyone knows, once students peel back the plastic seal of a brand new edition, the value automatically goes down or they are totally unable to return or sell back the book.
We hope that professors make a serious effort to selectively choose appropriate textbooks, and that they reuse them every semester for as long as possible or avoid assigning hardcovers.
There are other effective and inexpensive ways to teach besides out of a book. The Internet and the databases on the library Web site have many useful resources that students could use as class material. Some professors simply assign online articles, which only forces students to pay a smaller printing fee to use them in class.
The new tax that is being proposed on textbooks will be detrimental to students so we hope that CCSU professors and the administration do their best to lessen the burden that will be placed upon their students.