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The Wall Street Journal has an interactive community where users can ask questions or share advice on a given topic. This week, the Journal Community is discussing the best way to pay for college. Feel free to share your tips here on SCHEV’s blog, or visit the WSJ website to see what their readers have to say.

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College students spend between $700 and $1,000 on new and used textbooks each year, according to the Student Public Interest Research Groups. If you are one of the many students looking for ways to economize on textbooks this year, we have good news. The college textbook market, which has long been derided for producing expensive textbook bundles with low resale values, may finally be exploring low cost alternatives for students.

 

In a recent column, Steve Rosen outlines how the Higher Education Opportunity Act requires publishers to “unbundle” textbook packages so that students can buy just the book or supplementary materials they need. The new law, which will take effect in July 2010, also requires publishers to disclose the price of textbooks to professors so they can make informed choices when selecting materials for their classes.

 

But some folks in higher ed aren’t waiting for the legislation to take effect. Check out this article in the New York Times about an economics professor at Cal Tech who is so fed up with shady textbook selling practices that he is putting his introductory economics textbook online for students and professors to download for free. The article goes on to list several online textbook repositories that permit the sharing of course materials.

 

Have you found other ways to get around high prices at your campus bookstore? Share your suggestions with us by clicking on the “Comments” button.

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Most forms of Financial Aid cover tuition, room/board, fees, and sometimes books. But over time, the cost of living while attending college can add up. This summer, why not create a plan to save money at school next year? Below are some frugal tips gathered from former college students:

  • Buy necessities like shampoo, laundry detergent and toilet paper in bulk, before you leave home. On campus stores usually mark up these items more than bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
  • Use email or web-phone/video services to stay in touch with relatives and friends while you are away at school. Long distance calls can be expensive.
  • Buy used textbooks and save your reciepts in case a professor cuts a required text from the syllabus at the last minute.
  • Live with roommates and split the cost of everything evenly. Consider buying food seperately though… many an arguement has been started because someone else ate all the peanut butter.
  • Learn to cook. Eating out is one of the highest expenses cited by college students. Making a weekly menu, shopping strictly for that menu, and sticking to an at-home cuisine will save you a bundle.
  • Pack a lunch each day and invest in a good refillable water bottle. This way you won’t have to buy high-priced items on campus.
  • Make sure your apartment or dorm is near public transportation – and use it. Take advantage of your campus shuttles, too. Or bring your bike to campus and leave your car at home.

Do you have a cost-cutting tip to share? Submit a comment to this post!

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