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Students Delay Getting Course Material, Face Poorer Grades

More than seven in 10 students (72 percent) wait until a new course has started before they invest in course material. Another 27 percent never buy the course material at all. Fifty-five percent say they've gone with old versions of the content and 47 percent say they've shared materials with a classmate as strategies for lowering the financial outlay they have to make.

These results come from a survey done in May 2016 of 500 currently enrolled college students by Wakefield Research on behalf of VitalSource. The latter is a company that provides a platform for delivering curriculum in digital form.

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents said they'd favor their schools encompassing the purchase of course materials right into the price of tuition. This isn't an option for 47 percent of the students. Another 17 percent said they didn't know if that bundling was available.

Among those students at institutions where course materials are included with tuition, a majority (74 percent) said they are "confident" that their schools have negotiated the optimal price for the course materials.

"As the cost of college continues to rise, we are seeing students make hard choices to make higher education attainable," said Pep Carrera, chief operating officer of VitalSource, in a prepared statement. "Sometimes that means not having access to all the tools and materials they need. Unfortunately, the research shows it is coming at a cost to student success."

Carrera was referring to the same survey, which found that nearly half (45 percent) of students surveyed said they believe their delays in getting access to course content impairs their grades.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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