Digital Access Codes Are Another Hidden College Expense to Watch Out for

Via Lifehacker: http://ift.tt/2drAIXD


If tuition isn’t high enough, college students have a laundry list of college-related expenses they have to pay for. Especially during your first semester, those expenses can catch you by surprise. Another one to add to the list: digital access codes.

According to a report from the Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs), many college courses now require students to buy one-time digital access codes. These codes give students access to digital books, homework assignments, study guides, and tests. They found the average cost for these codes is $100.24. Of course, you can only use the code once, so there’s no sharing. The Student PIRGs explains why this isn’t a great scenario for students:

  • By making access codes single-use and individualized for each student, publishers eliminate a student’s ability to share with a friend, or borrow from the library if they don’t have the financial means to buy it.
  • By creating access codes that include assignments and tests, publishers lock 100% of students in a course into buying their product and eliminate a student’s ability to opt-out.
  • By transitioning to digital course materials, publishers now have the ability to eliminate excess supply that could lead to used book markets.

The report suggests this trend is a workaround for publishers to still make money on textbooks when students who find ways to cut costs. If nothing else, it helps for students to be aware of this cost so they can budget accordingly. For the full report, head to the links below.

Report: New Trend in College Textbook Market Presents Danger For Students | Student PIRGs via The New York Times

Photo by CUNY Academic Commons

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