PA state system of higher education agreed today to raise PA public universities tuition by 3%, once again outpacing inflation. Pennsylvania colleges have been facing declining enrollment since the recession, forcing future students to bare the brunt of the years of wasteful spending that preceded this. Additionally, this increase relates to tuition only. Individual colleges have the ability to set room, board, meal plans, and college textbook prices as they see fit. The board also approved a $10 increase to the PA "technology fee", for a grand annual total of $368. Last time I checked, weren't you also required to purchase a laptop for college? What technology are they providing that is worth $368 a year per student?
The bottom line is college tuition continues to increase in price much faster than other goods. Be sure to pick a smart degree with a future, don't drop out, and as always, don't let the college bookstores rip you off on textbook prices. Compare textbook prices to be sure you've found the most discounted textbooks, used editions, rental textbooks. and etextbooks available online.
More information available here:
Looking for college textbook solutions? Chegg.com's new online homework help may be worth checking out:
Currently, Chegg is featuring step by step instructions and solutions for every question in about 3000 college textbooks. Additionally, they're offering 24/7 online support for non-supported textbooks where you can receive a response in about 2 hours from experts and other students. As the service, which was acquired from Cramster, will continue to expand its collection of college textbook solutions as the user base expands. Chegg is currently running a free 7 day trial, which will likely still be available come the beginning of the fall semester. After 7 days, two memberships are available; $74.95 for an annual membership, or $14.95 per month on an ongoing basis. Just be sure to remember to cancel your free trial before the 7 day period or you will be charged for the service.
Let us know in the comments section if you have any reviews/comments/concerns with chegg's textboook solutions/answer services. We're curious to know what college students think about it.
Rumor has it Chegg.com, a popular US textbook website that frequently pops up in our compare textbooks search, has selected two investment banks to manage its initial public offering, or IPO. Supposedly, management has selected JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, the countries two largest banks, to help it raise around $200 million by selling shares to the public. Most textbook publishers are publicly traded, but this is a first aside from amazon, ebay, and Barnes and Noble for a textbook merchant to list shares.
In terms of regular companies, chegg.com is rather new, being founded in 2007 as the netflix of textbooks. Chegg, which is arguably the most popular textbook rental company, plants a tree for every textbook rented, and has planted over 5 million trees. Based on this, I am estimating that chegg has probably had profits since its inception somewhere around $50 million.
The likelihood of pursuing an IPO is the amount of venture capital that chegg has received over the years. Multiple venture capitalist firms have invested in chegg, and with that money usually comes the stipulation that the company will be sold to the public to cash out the venturists. It is likely that the time has come for these venture capitalists to reap the large rewards for taking a risk on a small company. Additionally, the timing of the IPO is interesting, as it is right in the middle of public debates about the rising costs and declining rewards of education in America.
What does this mean for textbook consumers and college students? Well, current management is likely to stay with the website, but as first quarterly results come out, they will realize the pressure of public shareholders to constantly beat earnings, raise revenues and profitability, diversify revenue streams, and reduce costs. All else being equal, I believe students will be in for price hikes over time from chegg, as private owners are more likely to be satisfied with steady, stable profits, while public shareholders can just put their money in bonds or blue chips if they want reliable. Once again, this highlights the importance of comparing textbook prices, even rental textbook prices, as a smaller, private competitor may be willing to rent your textbook slightly cheaper, as it doesn't have thousands of angry shareholders demanding higher profitability.
I look forward to analyzing the financial statements of chegg once the investment bankers begin to market the company to potential investors. Check back for future updates about Chegg becoming public. Time will tell if they continue to provide cheap rental textbooks to students.
Supreme Court Rules International Edition Textbooks legal for Sale in US
On March 19, 2013, the Supreme Court published its final decision in the court case Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. In a 6-3 vote, the court decided that Supap Kirtsaeng, an Thailand-born US college student was not in violation of any law for importing International Edition Textbooks and reselling them in the United States. In the short-run, this is great for college students, textbook resellers, and online textbook marketplaces. However, in the long-run, it may discourage publishers from licensing their copyrighted works to foreign publishers, which would be a detriment to US college students, as well as the countries losing access to valuable educational materials from here in the US.
The court case is centered around the first sale doctrine, which essentially states that while textbook publishers may have agreements in place with the foreign publishers, once an individual purchases that book in a foreign country, they have the right to resell that book either immediately or after they are done with it. In the grand scheme of things, this allows entrepreneurs to continue importing these cheap textbooks for sale in the US marketplace.
International Edition Textbooks are quite commonplace in the United States. For those unfamiliar with them, they usually are paperback compared to hardcover, printed on cheaper paper, and sometimes in black and white. The cover will usually contain a warning stating that the book is not to be sold in the United States. These cheap textbooks are frequently sold brand new at a fraction of the price of the US edition. The majority of these textbooks contain identical information and page numbering, however, infrequently some textbooks may contain slightly different questions at the end of chapters making it tough for a student to complete coursework that requires using the book's supplied questions and answers. However, this is rare, and if you should stumble upon this, I would request to return the book to where you purchased it.
Many Textbook marketplaces allow the sale of International Edition Textbooks. They should be marked as such, and are pretty obvious by the price differential compared to US editions. Now with this recent ruling, I would expect to see an influx of international edition textbooks listed on marketplaces at very cheap prices, that's why comparing textbook prices is always important. For those students who may have been nervous about purchasing a textbook that states it is not for sale in the US, do not fret any longer. For those of you who run in to teachers who ban international editions, just direct them to my article, as well as the published decision of the Supreme Court: