When You Have to Pay $150 to Do Your Homework
Nicole Dieker


This semester, I elected to pay out of pocket for the additional tuition/books/ephemera that were not covered by my (hilariously small and ineffective, even at a state school with notoriously low tuition) Pell grant rather than taking on even more debt. Hurts in the short term because it’s a large portion of my fuck off/moving fund, but I know it’s the better option long term.

Three of my four online classes require an “enrollment fee” paid to the textbook company that hosts the textbook and homework portal. I can’t download these textbooks to read on my iPad or Kindle or phone (all of which I know I’m lucky to have access to!) while I’m away from my computer, and I can’t be logged into the website in two different places, so I can’t even reference the text without logging out of my homework.

My fourth class has a text that is sold only through the school bookstore as a sheath of looseleaf paper in a binder. There is no used version, because you can’t sell it back if they can’t verify all the pages are there. I’m not sure what my fifth class (late start, 8 week class) will have for texts, but I’ve heard rumors that the professor provides all the articles in PDF or through library reserve.

The textbook racket is a fucking joke. I know this degree will be helpful in my career but good GOD this is overwhelming. Three more semesters.

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