Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Publish textbook requirements during registration

Sharon Chang

Ever-increasing textbook costs pose a daunting challenge for college students. While these prices may not change anytime soon, students could better plan for fluctuations if they knew about them in advance. UT should integrate textbook requirements and their associated costs into the registration process to alleviate the financial strain on students, empower them to make more informed decisions and reduce semesterly budgeting surprises. 

Textbook costs can occupy a significant portion of students’ expenses, making it difficult to budget spending throughout the semester and increasing stress during registration. Students often worry about getting their desired classes and considering the total cost of their class schedule.  

Shereen Khan, a human development and family science sophomore, explained her experience with textbook prices. 

“The most expensive textbook that I’ve bought so far is like 70 bucks,” Khan said. “It does take up a good chunk of the budget, but it is required. What can you do about that?”

Disclosing textbook requirements during the registration process provides significant advantages for the student body. Through the implementation of this system, professors could foster financial transparency by allowing students to accurately budget their academic careers from the get-go. Even if a class is mandatory, knowing its cost beforehand creates a clearer picture of what will be spent in the long run. 

Michael Kiely, director of course materials, discussed the feasibility of releasing this information earlier.  

“We can turn our website on for the upcoming term sooner,” Kiely said. “There will be a little bit of conflict, but system-wise, we can manage that.” 

Faculty compliance interferes with what could be an effective solution. Some instructors do not consistently submit textbook information on time, leading to incomplete information for students. 

“The biggest problem with that is that a large percentage of faculty have not reported to us what they’re going to use by the deadline,” Kiely said. “There’s about 11,000 sections that are taught in the spring, and we have about 3,800 who have responded.” 

Although the number of courses will likely increase before registration, maximizing contact between the bookstore and professors could address the communication challenge. 

Kiely explained the follow-up process for textbook information after the deadlines. 

“The provost office sends out one email per semester, just to encourage faculty to get (their textbook information) in on a timely manner,” Kiely said.   

Sending follow-up emails could encourage professors to submit information about class materials on time. Adding this information to the registration process could incentivize professors to respond because of the pressing deadline. 

Even with a lower response rate, the early release of available textbook information would help the student population. Incorporating textbook information into the registration process is a vital step toward promoting affordable and accessible education. By actively addressing concerns around faculty deadlines and collaboration, UT can provide students with more information to succeed academically.

Narwekar is a philosophy and economics sophomore from Coppell, Texas.

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