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The VitalSource Resource

Students Delaying or Avoiding Course Material Purchases; Grades Suffer as a Result

Posted by Paget Hetherington on September 14, 2016

Editor’s Note: This is the second of three posts on a recently-conducted research study commissioned by VitalSource.

At VitalSource, it is important for us to understand the wants, needs, attitudes and concerns of our users. To that end, we commission a yearly study to “take the temperature” of college students regarding technology used in their education.

According to the 2016 survey, the high cost of college, including textbooks, is causing students to make unreasonable sacrifices. More than ever, students are waiting to purchase required course materials until after the beginning of classes or not purchasing them at all, even though many know it is affecting their ability to succeed academically.

Putting Off Purchases and Negative Effects on Grades

Cost is an Important Factor in Avoiding or Delaying Getting Course Materials
  • 72% of students have waited to purchase course material until after the class
  • 27% have forgone purchases altogether
  • 89% cite cost as the reason for those decisions

Students indicate delaying or avoiding course material purchases has had a negative impact on their grades. Of the students who delayed purchases, 39% report making the purchases later in the semester as they realized they were needed to succeed in the class. Among the student group that delayed or avoided, 45% report less academic success.

Affordability and Bundling
Most College Students are Unaware or Don't Have the Option to Purchase Course Materials as Part of TuitionThe survey indicates students overwhelmingly favor colleges offering the option to purchase course materials as part of the tuition

  • 77% of students have an interest in rolling the cost of their materials into their tuition
  • 47% state their institution does not allow this currently
  • 17% did not know if they were afforded this option

Students Costs Infographic
Interested in a visual of these results?

Download our VitalSource Student Research Study - Students' Costs infographic by clicking on the button below.

Topics: Technology, Tuition, Wakefied Research, VitalSource, Textbooks, Survey, Students

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