Campus Life

New report highlights impact of high textbook costs on college affordability, completion

The UWF Innovation Institute’s Florida Virtual Campus released the results of the “2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey Report.” The survey is the third in a series from 2010 through 2016 that shows the impact high textbook costs have on college affordability, as well as college success and completion.

“The findings of this survey report are extremely significant, as the financial impact of textbook and instructional material costs on student academic success is a mounting concern for higher education,” said Dr. Robin Donaldson, director of member research and services for the Florida Virtual Campus. “We could not have completed the report without the assistance and support of the Florida Board of Governors and the Florida College System, as well as the participation from Florida’s public institutions.”

In 2016 alone, more than 22,000 students from all of Florida’s public colleges and universities voluntarily participated in the anonymous online survey. The steady increase in student participation from more than 14,000 participants in 2010 and 22,000 in 2012, to more than 22,000 in 2016, suggest the effect that the high cost of textbooks is having on academic careers and that financial burden continues to be a topic of concern for Florida students.

An overview of general findings show that:

• The high cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access, success and completion;
• Required textbooks are purchased, but not always used in course instruction;
• Students in undergraduate degree programs spend more on textbooks than students in graduate degree programs; and
• Financial aid covers less textbooks now than in 2012.

For additional information a full copy of the report, textbook affordability infographic and executive summary can be found online at the Distance Learning and Student Services Staff Resources website.


2010 Florida Student Textbook Survey (.pdf)
2012 Florida Student Textbook Survey (.pdf)
2016 Florida Student Textbook Survey (.pdf)