USU students could save over $400,000 in textbook savings this year

Textbooks are among the highest out-of-pocket expenses for college students, according to a new report which proposes cost-saving alternatives that could help students save and learn more. Photo credit:

Utah State University students could realize over $400,000 in savings in textbook costs this year because of the school’s selection as part of a program administered by Rice University in Houston, Texas

OpenStax uses philanthropic grants to produce high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are either completely free online or low cost in print.

“We launched in 2012,” said Nicole Finkbeiner, Director of Institutional Relations for OpenStax. “The goal is to publish free textbooks for the nation’s 25 most attended college courses and we are on track to meet our goal of saving students $500,000,000 by 2020.”

OpenStax appears to be on the way to replacing expensive textbooks.

“Yes,” said Finkbeiner, “the idea is to increase student affordability and access by replacing costly textbooks with open educational resources. And not only to replace the costly textbooks but to also make sure that every single student has an immediate and unlimited access to their learning resources on the first day of class.”

USU is one of 11 universities for selected for 2016-17 by Rice University-based publisher OpenStax to be members of its national Open Educational Resource (OER) Institutional Partnership Program. The program could potentially save students at partner schools a combined $4.2 million through further adoption of open educational resources, such as OpenStax textbooks.

Each school will receive individualized consulting on its OER efforts and strategy. Program benefits include a customized strategic plan to increase OER use on campus.

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