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Here’s an education on education

In my house, my husband and I joke we don’t save money for our kids to go to college someday, we save money for the therapy they’ll need as adults! Even though our children have years before they’ll be in college, the rising cost of an education looms out there patient and waiting.

I did a quick check to see what the going rate is for a four-year undergraduate degree these days at Boise State. Try on for size about $21,000 for residents and $59,000 for non-residents and that’s just for tuition and fees. Add in books, room and board, transportation and food costs and you get a recipe for chest tightening among parents.

With two daughters at Boise State, Maureen Page has found her calling; to cut costs any way she can. And what she is doing in one area is something every parent or student should take notes on.

Four years ago, Page’s daughter, Christie was enrolled at Loyola University. Page said she about had a heart attack when the bill for the first semester’s textbooks topped over a thousand dollars.

“I thought that was insane. And I thought there just has to be a better way”, Page said.

So she buckled down and started studying. And all that homework paid off in a big way.

She found she could take the list of required textbooks, surf the Internet and find them for a fraction of the price. Her favorite sites: half.com, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Then there are the book rental sites. Who knew you could rent a textbook for a semester? She’s had her best success at chegg.com, e.campus.com and alibris.com.

Her daughter, Christie, who is now a senior at BSU, majoring in English, was given a list of required reading for this semester – mostly classics. The bookstore total would have been over $300. Page found them all online, some for as little as 10 cents a book. She filled her entire list for $30 and most of that was in shipping.

Her second daughter, Jen’s textbook list wasn’t quite so cheap, but she did find big discounts by shopping online.

“I paid $39 for one book that would have cost us $112 in the bookstore”, Page said .

Since she is footing the bill, Page figures she’s saved thousands of dollars over the years her girls have been in school. She has just one word of caution and that is to make sure you get your ISBN numbers right (the identifying number given to the book) and the correct edition.

That old saying, a penny saved is a penny earned; well, she may not be earning. But she’s at least taking a swing at some of those costs. And landing a few punches.


About Lonni Leavitt-Barker

One comment

  1. You know, you’re missing the big picture here with this cutesy-pie whine about “education” in Idaho. Those kids need to be out of the state, along with any parents under 40 who can relocate to a place with a stronger, broader ladder of upward mobility. And that would be any state that values education in a tech-savvy, competitive world.