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New Report from NACS Shows Decrease in Overall Spending on Course Materials by College Students

Number of Materials Purchased Remains Steady as Use of Free and Digital Materials Increases
 
OBERLIN, Ohio, Aug. 7, 2017 /via PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the 2016-17 academic year, college students spent an average of $579 on 10 required course materials. That's down from $602 on 10 units the previous academic year, and $701 in 2007-08, according to Student Watch™: Attitudes and Behaviors toward Course Materials: 2016-2017 Report, the National Association of College Stores' (NACS) twice-yearly survey of college students in the U.S. and Canada.  Students also reported spending an additional $506 on technology and school supplies.

"While students report spending less on their required course materials, they're still purchasing roughly the same amount," said Jenny Febbo, vice president of marketing and strategic communications for NACS., Spending is down because use of Open Educational  Resources (OER) is increasing, and students are buying more lower-cost digital, used, and rental materials." 

Other highlights from the report, which compiled responses from more than 20,000 college students, include:
  • Use of free materials is increasing: They're borrowing, sharing, and downloading the materials needed for their classes. In spring 2017, 25% of students surveyed reported using a free method to obtain what they needed for class, up from 19% in spring 2016 and 15% in spring 2015.
  • Students are opting to rent more; campus store the primary source: Forty-three percent of students rented at least one course material in fall 2016 compared to 40% in fall 2015. And, 57% of students who rented a course material, did so through the campus store.
  • Campus store remains top source for course materials: In Fall 2016 students report that 82% of course materials were purchased from the campus store, 40% from Amazon, 8% from a peer/student, 7% from Chegg.com and 7% from a publisher website.
  • New print format is most purchased: In fall 2016, when purchasing course materials, 74% of students reported buying new print, 70% bought used print, and 23% bought digital. Purchasing of digital materials increased by 8% from 15 % in fall 2015 to 23% in fall 2016.
About The National Association of College Stores
The National Association of College Stores (NACS), headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, is the professional trade association of the $10 billion campus store industry. NACS provides education and other resources that help its member stores support student success, the campus experience, and the academic missions of higher education institutions. The association represents all campus stores, which include nearly 4,000 campuses in the U.S. and Canada, and approximately 1,000 industry-related companies that supply course materials and other merchandise and services to campus stores.

About the Student Watch™ Survey
Student Watch™ is conducted online twice a year, in the fall and spring terms. It is designed to proportionately match the most recent figures of U.S. higher education published in The Chronicle of Higher Education: 2015/2016 Almanac. Ninety institutions were selected to participate based on the following factors: public versus private schools, two-year versus four-year degree programs, enrollment size, and geographic location.

* Starting in 2015-16, data weighted by campus type to more accurately reflect the proportion of students enrolled at two- and four-year U.S. institutions.

SOURCE National Association of College Stores

CONTACT: Jennifer Libertowski, APR, National Assn. of College Stores, (800) 622-7498 ext. 2249, jlibertowski@nacs.org