College textbooks are expensive but often required by instructors. Some textbooks cost upwards of $200 and many courses require multiple textbooks. Help Highline College students break through those financial barriers that stand in their way of success by donating to the Emergency Textbook Fund.Help Highline College Students Today →
Giving Tuesday is a global giving movement that occurs the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Learn More about Giving Tuesday ➝
After experiencing the horrors of a domestic violence relationship, Lydia DeLoach found herself in need of a fresh start.
Although she had been enduring abuse in the relationship for some time, she figured, since her three children were being taken care of, everything was fine.
Until she learned they weren’t and it wasn’t.
“I found out one of them was being physically abused,” Lydia said.
Lydia packed up her life, did an “emergency move,” got a restraining order and landed at Highline College through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). She had become unemployed as the result of the situation and the college offered Life Skills classes through its Women’s Programs.
Being on campus was just the thing she needed. In spring 2018, she decided to pursue her associate degree in mobile technology.
“It’s cool going at first because you have this hope inside you,” Lydia said. “But once they help you find all the classes and advise you and get you onto campus, you’re like, ‘Great, I get to go to school but I’m not gonna be able to afford anything. Therefore, I’m not going to pass my classes and I’m just going to be left in the same place as I was left before’.”
Added college expenses, such as the costs of required textbooks, can add up.
According to the National Association of College Stores and National Center for Education Statistics, the average price of a new textbook in 2016-17 academic year was $90 while the average cost of a used textbook was $58. That data was collected from the Independent College Stores Financial Survey in 2016-17.
But some textbooks can cost as much as $300 alone, and some classes require multiple required readings.
Factor in full-time students, many of whom take 15 credits or three classes, and the extra textbook fees can be exorbitant.
“Textbooks are crazy to buy,” Lydia said. “You walk in there having high hopes that things aren’t going to be expensive when they’re used but, whether or not they’re used or new, they’re extremely expensive.”
Lydia recalled the cost of her individual textbooks range between $60 and $230.
“It doesn’t matter if your tuition is paid,” she said. “If you can’t follow along in class or keep up with instructors saying, ‘turn to page 92,’ … you’re just stuck there.”
Luckily, Lydia was able to receive textbook funding assistance through Women’s Programs, but not everyone qualifies for those services.
“It’s sad because everybody on campus is going through their own thing but it seems like a lot of us here at Highline, there’s a financial situation or a family aspect to it, and a lot of people do have to drop out of school because they find out the first few weeks of school they’re not going to be able to get a book,” she said. “So there is no continuing that quarter.” Speaking from experience, Lydia said that can stop someone’s track to pursuing their education entirely.
Lydia is now a student worker in Women’s Programs and WorkFirst Services, helping those who qualify get the help they need, but she is a firm believer all students could benefit from an emergency fund for textbook assistance.