Rising textbook prices counteracts free tuition

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a free tuition plan that would provide free tuition to public universities for students who come from incomes of under $125,000. Unfortunately, this plan will have little to no effect on student debt due to the rising prices of textbooks.

Cuomo’s free tuition plan may provide a way for students to access higher education for free, but the inevitable increase in students at public universities during the years has caused textbook prices to surge in accommodation. Instead of costing hundreds of dollars per book, textbooks range in the thousands of dollars.

Geneseo’s add-drop period ended on Jan. 23, a day similar to the purge. Students were robbed of their final chance at freedom from buying textbooks—now students must buy those books whether they want to pay for them or not.

It has long been an issue for students to accomplish this task, and this semester seems to be even worse for some. 

“I am here completely on financial aid and I still can’t pay for my textbooks,” English major sophomore Ima Broke said. “I got here on a full ride, but when I have to pay $1000 per textbook, it’s almost not worth it.” 

Due to her financial situation, Broke qualifies for Governor Cuomo’s free tuition initiative. 

“Governor Cuomo’s initiative will allow me to attend Geneseo with my tuition covered for four years straight,” Broke said. “But when I have to buy textbooks, I basically have to pay that same amount. My parents have had to mortgage our house to pay for my textbooks, and my younger brothers have yet to even enroll.”

Not all students, however, fall under the $125,000 salary capacity. In addition to paying regular price for their tuition, they must pay thousands of dollars for their textbooks. Some students—like biology major junior Will Barter—turn to more taboo means for their textbook payments.

“I had always been interested in getting involved in the black market,” Barter said. “Last semester I sold my car and worked 60 hours a week to pay for textbooks, so I figured it was time for something new.”

Barter has been an active black market merchant since January, dealing exclusively in the trade of human organs.

“As a biology major, it has really helped me learn more about how the human body works,” Barter said. “I have gained the experience of holding a human heart in my hands. I’ve dealt with livers. I’m really happy that I was given this opportunity, and I advise everyone to do it whenever they get the chance. After all, it’s not like textbook prices are going down anytime soon.”