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SC colleges would have to help lower textbook costs under new bill

A new bill proposed by Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, aims to lighten the financial burden for students paying for textbooks.
The bill, S. 262, would require professors, before or at the time students register for classes, to disclose textbook prices, whether each textbook will be used, whether it is required or recommended and whether there is another version of the book that can be used.
Additionally, there would be a minimum number of years that professors would be required to use any particular textbook for their course. For earlier courses, a three-year minimum would be required. In more advanced courses, this would only be a two-year minimum. There would also be an attempt to inform students as to how to save money on textbooks, and students and professors would be surveyed to determine the new bill’s effectiveness.
The bill is in response to a growing concern from lawmakers towards the cost of textbooks and the added burden it places on the price of education.
Many Clemson students have expressed that they feel they are paying too much for textbooks. Joseph Guy, senior mechanical engineering major, estimates he spends “about $350 on average” each semester for his textbooks.
Clemson University calculates the estimated cost of attendance for the 2016-2017 year is $28,734 for in-state students and $48,616 for out-of-state students. This calculation includes tuition, fees, books and supplies, room, board, transportation, personal expenses and loan fees for undergraduate students living on-campus. Clemson University estimates that each student will spend $1,308 on textbooks this school year alone.
Clemson students have admitted to various ways in which they attempt to get around prices, such as by buying the textbook from other students for less, scanning their classmates’ books or finding a pirated version online. Students also use services such as Chegg or Amazon to purchase textbooks for lower prices than at the bookstore.
A similar bill was filed last year, but it did not pass due to concerns that the bill would infringe on professors using lower-cost textbooks only lasting a short time. The new bill takes this into account by only considering books over $50 as textbooks.

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