Last month, my wife and I brought our youngest to college to start her second year at the University of Dayton. A trip I have made many times since my oldest also attended and graduated from Dayton. We moved her in two days early to avoid the long lines of cars at the dorm and the bookstore.

Once we moved the carload of my daughter’s valued possessions into her room and set up some of the stuff, we took a break and walked to the bookstore to get the textbooks for the semester. Dayton has a unique scholarship for books… Tour the college before the spring of senior year and you get a $4,000 scholarship for books, spread out over 4 years ($500/semester), when you attend. Great deal when the sticker price that colleges state for books is $1,000 -$1,200 per year. Depending on your major, there could be years when the cost approached $2,000!

My daughter got her list of books from one of the students working in the textbook section and we started the search. First up, Biology. The new book price was $257! Thankfully, the used one was only $207.75. The lab book was only $23.25 and the lab manual was $74. Both have to be new since most students write in them. So after one class, we are over $300. Only $200 to go before it’s my tab…

Second course, Organic Chemistry. Textbook = $336.00 new with a student solutions manual an additional $188.70. The running total is now $829.70. Now let’s add the other two Organic Chemistry books at $136.70 and 17.30.

$983.70 for 2 classes with labs.

The third class, Physics. Did I tell you my daughter is an Environmental Biology major? That means lots of science books and lab books. The physics book is fortunately used so the cost is ONLY $200.50. The lab book is $20.45. New, of course. The total now is…

$1204.65! (with tax $1,276.93)

The fourth and last class is a Social Science course and luckily, without any required books.

Now I could have said “Thank you” and purchased them all and paid $776.93. I didn’t though. As we searched for the books, my daughter mentioned one of her roommates was Pre-Med and had biology last year. She called and asked about the textbook. She still had it and would share it. $207.75 saved…  Also, I have a favorite website that I use to search for textbooks so I researched the Organic Chemistry books for a lower price. I found the first 2 that added up to $524.70 for only $313! Savings: $211.70. The remainder of the books came to $506 so they stayed in the scholarship amount of $500. My total out of pocket amount was $320, rather than $776.93. Still a lot, but I hope I’ll be able to sell them on Amazon at the end of the semester/year and recoup much of the $320 or more.

There are many ways to cut the cost of college once a student has selected the school and received the aid package. Call me to find out more.