Like many other returning students, I have spent the past week scouring the Internet comparing textbook prices. Why, you ask? Because textbook stores really love to rip us off. The total for my Semester One ‘required’, ‘core’ texts, is just shy of $1000. Seven books were deemed ‘necessary’ to my education for the next four months, so necessary that I almost have to take out a loan to pay for them. WHY on earth is this ‘required’ of us? Why can’t we just have the online version instead of forking out thousands of dollars each year for meaningless paperweights that we use maybe, twice a semester? On top of rent, food, petrol, technology costs, and all of these other necessities, the government should happily pile this ‘up-front’ load on top of my HECS fees.

Textbook prices vary from course to course, but if you include living expenses, work opportunities, and all the other ‘essential’ expenditures; it’s a pretty poor outcome. Essentially, if you study law, medicine, engineering, or anything beginning with the prefix ‘bio’, you can expect to be in debt until you start your mid-life crisis stage. At $7,000 a semester in HECS for 5 years, plus $1,000 in textbooks every semester, all I get is a piece of paper and a crumbling bank account. Cheers.

Originally published in Curieux Issue 1, 2015.