2016 Florida student textbook & course materials survey

"The financial burden that students must bear for textbooks and course materials — and its impact on their academic choices and success — is a mounting concern for Florida’s higher education community," write the authors of the 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey from the University of Florida Office of distance Learning & Student Services. 

The survey, conducted in March and April 2016, counted results from more than 22,000 students. 

Three of the findings include:

The high cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access, success, and completion. The findings suggest that the cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access to required materials (66.6% did not purchase the required textbook) and learning (37.6% earn a poor grade; 19.8% fail a course). Time to graduation and/or access to courses is also impacted by cost. Students reported that they occasionally or frequently take fewer courses (47.6%); do not register for a course (45.5%); drop a course (26.1%), or withdraw from courses (20.7%).

Required textbooks are purchased but not always used in course instruction. The average survey participant purchased 2.6 textbooks that were not used during his or her academic career. That is a statistically significant increase from the 1.6 textbooks indicated in the 2012 survey.

Students in Associate or Bachelor’s degree programs spent more on textbooks than students in Master’s or Doctorate degree programs. For those students seeking an Associate degree, Bachelor’s degree with 0-60 credit hours, or Bachelor’s degree with 61 or more credit hours, 54.6%, 57.8% and 55.0%, respectively, reported having spent $301 or more on textbooks. By comparison, 38% of students seeking a Master’s degree, and 45% of students seeking a Doctorate degree, reported having spent $301 or more.