Opinion: TCU shouldn’t offer free textbook program


    Would you choose to go to a university if they offered you free textbooks?

    That’s what the University of Dayton is banking on with their new application offer.

    The Dayton, Ohio, based private Catholic university has begun a financial aid service that allows students to receive up to $4,000 for textbooks over the course of four years if the students apply, visit the campus and complete the FAFSA by March. 1. This initiative comes at a critical economic time in America, and many students are taking full advantage of this offer. Admissions staff for the university is hoping that this offer will increase enrollment and student interest in the school in the midst of a troublesome economy.

    The University of Dayton also offers other forms of financial aid based on ACT and SAT scores. For example, an SAT score of 1410 or higher could  earn an accepted student a $55,000 scholarship. The higher the SAT score, the higher the scholarship money, and vice versa.

    The cost of tuition at the University of Dayton is $30,340 per year. The rationale behind the textbook grant is that spending $4,000 on a select number of interested students is a worthwhile investment in a student who will spend just over $121,000 for their undergraduate education.

    TCU tuition, on the other hand, costs $32,400 per year. TCU offers scholarships such as the Founder’s Scholarship and the Chancellor’s Scholarship in order to help students cover the cost of tuition, but does not have a system that allots money based on a student’s SAT score.

    TCU also does not offer a textbook grant like the one at the University of Dayton and, quite frankly, shouldn’t. Yes, it is more expensive to go to TCU. Yes, the campus bookstore charges an arm and a leg for every single textbook.  However, the bookstore is not the only place where students can shop, and some classes don’t even require the books that the bookstore sells.

    Amazon and Chegg are just two of the numerous cheap textbook sites out there. Chegg allows students to rent textbooks for a semester with the option of buying them outright at the end of the course. And Amazon has a buyback policy that actually gives you back most of the money you spent on the book. In this day and age, it’s really your own fault if you spend a fortune on textbooks at the campus store when the exact same book can be found for half the price online.  

    Because TCU and the University of Dayton are private universities, they can both do as they please. the University of Dayton’s new program will definitely increase the amount of student interest, campus visits and applications to the school, but it may not impact actual enrollment too much, since a student must be accepted before the scholarship takes effect.

    TCU’s enrollment has already improved dramatically this year because of the national coverage at the Rose Bowl Game and doesn’t need this type of program in order to attract students. It would be a waste of money that could go towards other deserving programs on campus. In the end, I’ll just stick to buying books off of the internet instead of going through the bookstore.

    Jake Harris is a sophomore journalism major from Wahiawa, Hawaii .