What To Do If You Can’t Afford Textbooks This Semester

Why are they SO expensive?

If it wasn’t bad enough that we’re paying tens of thousands of dollars each year to attend university, at the start of each semester, or trimester, we’re shelling out even more.

One $100 book doesn’t seem so bad, but when you’re doing four topics a semester, with two semesters a year, it really adds up.

To stop you having to sacrifice your food budget just to get those books, we’ve compiled a list of some tips to help you out.

Borrow From The Library 

You know that massive building in the middle of your campus? The one that’s full of people quietly tapping away at their laptops, sleeping, or having panic attacks? That’s actually a little old thing called a library, and it may be the solution to all your problems.

Jokes aside, you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget that all the textbooks are actually housed in there, somewhere between the newspapers from the 1950s and the high-tech computer labs. Most uni libraries will let you borrow them for two hours, so just head to your lecture 2 hours early and smash out those readings.

And not that you heard it from us, but if you grab your phone and take a few sneaky pics, it’s basically like having the book yourself… What? You’re paying $10,000 a year for access to that library. Game the system. 

Join A Study Group And Mooch 

Study groups are known to have so many benefits, but here’s one you hadn’t thought of: while all your mates are trying to get their heads around the latest concept, you can slyly ask to borrow their textbook.

If someone catches on, just play the fool. Silly you! You’ve forgotten your textbook again. Woopsie.

Apply For A Grant 

Whatever university you’re at, chances are you have some sort of student association. Now, despite what you might think, those student associates do a little bit more than just hand out breakfasts, tampons and generally annoy everyone each year when they’re up for re-election.

They actually offer grants at the start of each semester. Sometimes they’re called Financial Hardship Grants, or similar, and in most cases, all you need to do is put in an application explaining your situation, and presto! Money for textbooks!

On a similar vein, if you’re already receiving Centrelink payments to help you study, each semester you can apply for Student Start-Up Loan. You’ll have to pay back but can help you short term to get your mitts on those textbooks. 

Edition Down And Second Hand 

To our untrained eyes, textbook editing appears to be a crazy lucrative business. You change a couple of things in a giant book, and you can sell it like it’s brand new.

If you’re not too picky and are looking to save some extra money, just go an edition down. Obviously not too far, and it depends on the discipline — no one wants a doctor who still thinks leaches are the cure for all.

(Lead image: Gilmore Girls/Warner Bros)