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  • Fixing the Broken Textbook Market | WISPIRG Students
    that 94 of students who had foregone purchasing a textbook were concerned that doing so would hurt their grade in a course More than half of the students felt significant concern for their grade 2 High textbook costs can have a ripple effect on students other academic decisions Nearly half of all students surveyed said that the cost of textbooks impacted how many which classes they took each semester Students attend college seeking job preparation and or degree attainment Careful course selection is often necessary in order to yield the results that a student is seeking within the timeframe they are prepared to study It is especially concerning that this process may be being undermined by high textbook costs 3 Students want alternatives expressing support for textbooks that are available free online and buying a hard copy is optional 82 of students felt they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook was available free online and buying a hard copy was optional This is exactly how open textbooks are designed Not only is the open textbook an ideal alternative to a traditional textbook from a student point of view but it is the only product in the marketplace that can directly challenge the high prices that publishers charge for new editions These high prices which outpace inflation underpin the entire textbook marketplace and drive market conditions for other alternatives such as the used book and rental markets Overall this study demonstrates that despite recent steps forward in the marketplace high textbook costs will continue to be a problem for students unless the cost of high priced new editions of college textbooks comes down Related issues Make Textbooks Affordable About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Local Chapters UW Madison UW Stevens Point Get Involved Action Center Campaign

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/reports/sp/fixing-broken-textbook-market (2016-04-29)
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  • Putting a Dent in College Costs With Open-Source Textbooks | WISPIRG Students
    to suit their preference There s a movement to make faculty written peer reviewed open source textbooks available to professors and students to help keep a lid on the cost of textbooks The University of Minnesota s Open Textbook Library has more than 160 titles and OpenStax College a foundation funded nonprofit affiliated with Rice University offers a dozen titles mainly focused on widely offered introductory courses with more in production Jennifer Swain 21 a student at South Florida State College said her instructor for a physics class used an open source textbook College Physics from OpenStax She likes that she can download it onto an app on her iPad that allows her to highlight sections of text just as she could in a traditional textbook but this one is free whereas a comparable hard copy physics text would cost about 250 A classmate Ashley Edmonson 24 said it s convenient to access the textbook from any device so she doesn t have to lug around another tome They re really hard to carry she said Students can also lease digital textbooks to avoid carrying a heavy backpack but students must pay for access which typically expires after a certain period of time David Ernst chief information officer at the University of Minnesota s College of Education and Human Development and the creator of the Open Textbook Library said professors busy with teaching and research responsibilities often don t know that quality open source textbooks are available He travels to universities giving presentations about the burden of textbook costs on students and how open source books can help afterward professors often adopt an open source text They re the ones who decide what books to use he said It s about awareness Here are some questions about textbook costs Q How can I find out if my school uses open source textbooks A You can ask the instructor if using an open source textbook is an option or check with your school library some schools participate in an open source network Ideally you should use the specific textbook your professor assigns But if you re really tight on cash you might ask if using a comparable open source book is acceptable said Nicole Allen director of Open Education at the Scholarly Publishing Academic Resources Coalition Q Are there any other lower cost options if an open source text isn t available A There are now many online textbook shopping sites available like Chegg com and Amazon so you can compare prices or see if there s a cheaper used version of a required book available A tool called Occupy the Bookstore available as an extension on the Chrome browser overlays on the website of some campus bookstore websites and shows you the price charged by other sellers for the same book Q How can I determine whether buying or renting traditional textbooks is a better deal A In general renting requires less cash upfront and can make sense if it

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/sp/putting-dent-college-costs-open-source-textbooks (2016-04-29)
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  • How students are engaging textbook companies in a duel against high prices, and winning | WISPIRG Students
    to websites according to the Huffington Post The textbook industry also began regularly issuing new editions According to a 2011 survey from the U S Public Interest Research Group new editions are released on average every 3 9 years but a 2008 report from the California state auditor found many college deans department chairs and faculty members admitted revisions to textbooks are often minimal and not always warranted Huffington Post reported These strategies backfired when students responded by buying used books renting books illegally downloading them sharing books with classmates or not buying them altogether The National Association of College Stores NACS says the average college student will spend 655 on textbooks each year reported the Huffington Post while the College Board puts the annual cost of books and supplies at 1 200 This means that despite a single textbook costing close to 300 students have simply stopped buying Sixty five percent of student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price and of those students 94 percent say they suffer academically reported the U S Public Interest Research Group The solution to the standoff between students and textbook publishers According to a textbook executive who spoke to Kestenbaum it s software Digital interactive versions of textbooks are cheaper and easier to update and the kicker they cannot be resold Another option is the growing open educational resources movement according to the American Enterprise Institute A startup called Boundless is a leader in the movement They call it textbook replacement reported Slate A great deal of academic content has been made available on the Internet for free The open educational resources OER movement has produced high quality texts videos charts problem sets etc Some of the authors are college professors who want to share

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/sp/how-students-are-engaging-textbook-companies-duel-against-high-prices-and-winning (2016-04-29)
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  • WISPIRG talks health care law, how it affects students | WISPIRG Students
    college something Gardner said will provide much needed relief for graduates When students graduate a lot of them are going to have debt and there s no way with either looking for health coverage or going without it that we as students could deal with that Gardner said Another key provision going into effect today will prevent health insurance companies from dropping a policy due to paperwork errors If a plan is dropped the holder will be able to appeal the decision In addition to the press conference WISPIRG also released The Young Person s Guide to Health Insurance The guide which is available on their website explores the key points of the Affordable Care Act as well as the options and rights it will provide for students Before the law was signed last March Congress engaged in a heated debate over health care reform that lasted several months Today the law continues to be seen by some as a partisan measure UW Professor Thomas Oliver of the School of Medicine and Public Health expressed his concern about the negativity surrounding the law and said he hopes it will eventually be judged with respect to its policies and not the surrounding politics Many important provisions of the bill will impact young people as much as older ones Oliver said but the effects of the provisions become lost when parties bicker about the role of government Oliver also cautioned college students from ignoring the health care issue until they are older As they want Medicare and Medicaid and other programs to be solid and available to them and their families as they get older they should be supporting the system now and trying to bring these things together and build a stable pool that covers almost all Americans Oliver said Stephen

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/media/wi/wispirg-talks-health-care-law-how-it-affects-students (2016-04-29)
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  • SO YOU NEED HEALTH INSURANCE. NOW WHAT? | WISPIRG Students
    people will qualify for these lower costs FREE OR LOW COST COVERAGE You or your children if you have any may qualify for Medicaid or BadgerCare Plus two programs outlined earlier in this guide When you fill out your application at the Health Insurance Marketplace you ll find out if you and your family qualify What are the Costs Once you ve narrowed down your options to several plans take a look at the specific costs of each plan It s important to consider not only the monthly premium but the potential out of pocket costs as well That way you can get a sense of the total cost you might face over the course of a year The specific out of pocket costs to look at are co pays deductibles and co insurance You ll also want to make special note of the out of pocket maximum For definitions of these terms see the section on Health Insurance Basics Here s a simple formula to see what you could have to pay in a year in a worst case scenario if you have a major illness or accident Monthly Premium x 12 months Out of Pocket Maximum Worst case scenario yearly cost Compare Plans Side by Side At the Health Insurance Marketplace you can compare plans based on a number of factors You can look at premiums and out of pocket costs and see which health care providers and hospitals are available in each plan In some states you can already compare quality ratings of the different plans and in others the quality rating will be added in future years BRONZE SILVER GOLD AND PLATINUM In the past it was practically impossible to compare insurance plans apples to apples with seemingly infinite combinations of premiums co pays deductibles annual coverage limits co insurance levels and out of pocket maximum amounts In the marketplace you can take advantage of the fact that the insurance plans have been neatly sorted into categories so you can compare them more easily The categories are Bronze Silver Gold and Platinum The categories are not based on the quality of care or the amount of care you can receive They are based on how much of your medical costs you pay and how much the insurance company pays As a general rule the higher the monthly premium the lower your out of pocket costs will be if you need care Platinum plans will generally have the highest premiums but if you need care you ll pay less in out of pocket costs Bronze plans will generally have lower premiums but you ll pay more in out of pocket costs if you need care If you think you ll need a lot of care in the year ahead it might make sense to pay a somewhat higher monthly premium and get a Gold or Platinum plan and know that you ll face lower out of pocket costs when you receive care On the other hand if you don t think you ll need much care you may want to pay a lower monthly premium and get a Bronze or Silver plan and risk the chance that you might get hit with higher out of pocket costs if you have an unexpected illness or accident CATASTROPHIC PLANS In addition to the Bronze Silver Gold and Platinum plans if you re under 30 or if you otherwise qualify by having a limited income that makes other coverage unaffordable you may buy a catastrophic plan These plans have lower premiums and they cover preventive care and three primary care visits per year with no co pay But if you need more care you ll face significant out of pocket costs That s because a catastrophic plan requires you to pay 100 of the cost of your medical care until you ve paid a certain amount often several thousand dollars These plans protect you from worst case scenarios where you d otherwise be on the hook for medical care costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars hence the name catastrophic It s also important to note that if you choose a catastrophic plan you won t be able to qualify for financial help through the marketplace What Health Care Providers Can You See When you are comparing plans take advantage of the fact that each plan will include a list of health care providers This is the plan s provider network If you visit a provider that isn t part of this network you ll pay higher costs so if you already have a doctor check to see if they are included in the plan you are considering Different types of insurance plans have different rules about whether you can get care outside of their provider network and still get the cost covered and at what cost HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION HMO An HMO typically only covers care if you visit a provider in their provider network You may be on the hook for the full cost of care if you use a health provider outside of the network In addition if you want to see a specialist in the network you may need to get a referral from your primary care provider PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION PPO A PPO covers care from providers both inside and outside the network However if you us a provider outside the network you ll pay higher out of pocket costs for that care You can see a specialist inside or outside the network without a referral How Does the Quality Stack Up Unfortunately when it comes to health care cost rarely tells you anything about quality Few things are more important than your health but for a long time there has been too little information about health care safety and quality available for consumers Now that s changing In many states the new marketplace includes tools to help you compare the quality of insurance plans and their provider networks In other states this information

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/resources/wi/so-you-need-health-insurance-now-what (2016-04-29)
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  • STUDENTS CALL FOR SENATE TO REJECT STUDENT LOAN DEAL | WISPIRG Students
    would pay for lower short term interest rates by jacking those rates up within two years followed by even higher rates throughout the decade Lindstrom continued If this new agreement is signed into law by the year 2018 an undergraduate who takes out the maximum in subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans will pay 4 700 more over the life of the loan than she would have last year and 900 more than if the rate simply stayed at 6 8 percent Briana Mullen a rising junior at the University of California said she was horrified when her subsidized Stafford student loan rate doubled from 3 4 to 6 8 percent on July 1 While the policy before the Senate will reverse the rate hike and keep my rates low it pays for my low rate by jacking up the rates that my sixteen year old sister will pay as well as the rates that my little twin brother and sister will pay There s no difference between us in terms of potential so there shouldn t be any difference in terms of cost Mullen s sixteen year old sister Dakota Friend also spoke I don t understand why she gets more affordable loans than I do Dominic Campion a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame stated My eleven year old brother should not have to pay for my low rates when she gets to college Federal policy should invest in all college students not favor some at the expense of others That the subsidized Stafford student loan rate doubled on July 1 is a big problem But this attempted fix makes things worse in the long run This is a bad deal for students because it will make the problem of student debt even worse Lindstrom added About Us

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/news/wi/students-call-senate-reject-student-loan-deal (2016-04-29)
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  • College Textbooks: Latest Trends and How to Save Money This Fall | WISPIRG Students
    State called the Open Course Library has already developed free online resources for 81 courses saving students 5 5 million since 2011 OpenStax College a project out of Rice University is developing open textbooks for the 25 largest enrollment courses which could ultimately save students 750 million All of these developments promise alternatives to expensive traditional textbooks that students are struggling to afford With today s technology there is no excuse for textbooks to cost 200 each continued Allen It s clearer than ever that the old model of publishing textbooks doesn t work in today s world and that new models like open educational resources are the future Although thousands of professors across the country have started to use OER most students should prepare to experience sticker shock as usual this fall The good news is that there are many ways that students can avoid paying full price for their textbooks Here are our favorite tips to save on textbooks For expanded tips and more information visit www maketextbooksaffordable org TIPS TO SAVE ON TEXTBOOKS 1 Start with the right information For each book you ll want the ISBN the unique identifier code that goes with each book and the title author publisher and edition in case you want to search for alternate editions 2 Shop around online The Internet offers a huge selection of new and used books for sale which almost always means savings New prices can be up to 20 off and used books 25 50 off Try retailers like Amazon com and Half com or go straight to a price comparison engine like CampusBooks com to search hundreds of websites at once Some sites also sell international editions that are as a fraction of the cost of US editions but may come with slight differences No matter what book you buy just make sure the seller is reliable and that you leave time for shipping 3 Rent The single best way to save money up front is renting Try websites like Chegg com or BookRenter com or rent locally through the campus bookstore Rental prices are usually around 40 of the list price but remember there won t be anything to sell back at the end of the semester 4 Swap books with other students Cut out the middle man by using Facebook Craigslist or simply asking around to find other students with the book you need 5 Consider e textbooks Surprisingly e textbooks don t offer the best savings they usually cost 50 of the list price and expire at the end of the semester so they can t be saved or sold back But tech savvy students may find the search features and portability a plus Try CourseSmart com for a wide selection of e textbooks 6 Look for coupon codes Watch the Facebook and Twitter streams of textbook retailers to capture special deals or check out coupon sites like RetailMeNot com or Ebates com 7 Compare with the bookstore If you re

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/news/college-textbooks-latest-trends-and-how-save-money-fall (2016-04-29)
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  • Activist Toolkit | WISPIRG Students
    million to help the hungry and homeless and played a key role in mobilizing support for reforms to clean our air and water and protect our environment In addition the PIRGs have provided students with an educational experience in democratic citizenship By bringing important issues to the campus debate giving students the opportunity to voice their opinions on those issues and giving students the skills to make sure their opinions and those of their fellow classmates are heard the PIRGs encourage life long civic engagement Along with the idealism energy and creativity of the students and staff who make up the PIRGs much of the PIRGs success can be attributed to the systematic approach to organizing detailed in this Activist Toolkit This Activist Toolkit provides any intern or volunteer with the basic tools necessary to run strong campaigns and service projects and win reforms both on and off campus for students and the public interest Resource file download Download the report Related Issues Make Textbooks Affordable Make Textbooks Affordable About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Local Chapters UW Madison UW Stevens Point Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on

    Original URL path: http://www.wispirgstudents.org/resources/activist-toolkit (2016-04-29)
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