who will sacrifice industry paychecks to work in academic fields.
Why do researchers have to sacrifice an industry paycheck to do it? In other words, why won't industrial pharma hire more talented scientists. They seem instead to be more interested in hiring salespeople, lawyers and MBAs, then contracting with academia so they can take advantage of "cheap labor" due to the overabundant supply of low-paid graduate students and post-docs. But then they wonder why the amount of NDAs (New Drug Applications) has been declining.
Most universities in Germany include an unlimited public transport pass in the low semester fee (ca. $300 per semester, the biggest part of that actually is the public transport pass. There is no tuition.) Public transport includes railways, not just buses. You don't need a car. Cycling is common in Germany. Get a bike. It is often the fastest way to get around.
Many US universities also offer free public transportation passes as well. But this typically only works well for urban campuses and in areas with good public transportation, which does not describe most of the united states. The oil companies made sure of that several decades ago.
Most required reading is available at the libraries or you can buy hand-me-downs cheaply. Course based learning materials are also made available online.
Publishers have American students basically by the balls. The cost of textbooks has doubled and even quadrupled in the 20 years since I was an undergraduate. They'll charge you through the nose for a required textbook, then make a few minor changes to the questions at the back of the chapter, pump out a new edition, and use that next semester, so the buyback/used value drops to practically nothing. And if they don't get you that way, it's the extra fee for "online access" and "online homework". I also see more and more students opting for the "international version", which is basically the exact same textbook but not in hardcover -- it's a paperback. Basically, they know that the USA is the wealthiest nation on earth, and companies intended on milking us for every dime they can get.
BTW; Professors don't buy the textbooks. Publishers give professors free complimentary copies of the "instructor's copy". They also like to wine and dine them to make sure their textbook gets selected,. .