Recently, I wrote about the fact that all Arizona community colleges meet the Johns Hopkins University definition of “dropout factories” by a very wide margin. Now, Glendale Community College, which only has a completion rate of 22 percent, is adding insult to injury in the form of an anti-competitive textbook program that will make textbooks more expensive for students.
Starting with the Fall 2010 semester, the college delayed financial aid payments by several days or even weeks after the start of class to address the problem of students receiving their aid money and not actually attending classes. To help students buy books in time for classes, though, the college created a voucher. Unfortunately, the voucher is only valid at the on-campus bookstore.
That inhibits students from purchasing books across the street at The College Book Center, where David Vanyo has been running his textbook business for over 20 years. Since the voucher, Vanyo’s business has fallen 30 percent. If he has to shut his doors, the on-campus bookstore would enjoy a virtual monopoly and the ability to hike prices – not good news for financially pinched students.
The Maricopa Community College district claims that it’s “impractical” to include other bookstores in the voucher program. But with rising textbook costs, even more Glendale Community College students may find it impractical to finish their degrees.
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: Community colleges have administrative bloat and low graduation rates