Promoting Equity and Decreasing Costs for All Students
Keeping course materials affordable for college students is an ongoing challenge for our nation’s universities. Though textbook costs are decreasing, compared to previous highs, they are still a significant expense for students. According to one article, the College Board reported course material expenses average $410 per year for both public two-year and four-year schools.
In addition, course material costs pose a disproportionate burden for first-generation students who may be from low-income communities, says WSU scholarly communications librarian, Talea Anderson. “These students often find it difficult to pay for course materials, as an added out-of-pocket expense at the start of the semester.” (Teen Vogue discusses this difficulty in more detail.)
The availability of open educational resources (OERs) has increasingly helped address affordable learning for students. At WSU, faculty have been awarded grants to offset the time and expense required to develop and/or implement high-quality, freely available digital material for students.
Thanks to these grants, and the support of staff at WSU Libraries and Academic Outreach and Innovation, faculty have helped reduce the cost of course materials for Cougs taking their courses.
- As of spring 2021, 35 grants totaling about $147,500 were awarded to WSU faculty. Each dollar invested in faculty development of OERs generates more than $50 in savings to students.
- In all, 56 WSU courses have eliminated purchased textbooks and replaced these with OERs, free to students.
- Across these 56 courses, students from every WSU campus were impacted.
- Each year, approximately 144,000 students enroll in these 56 courses.
- National benchmarks estimate the cost per course for textbooks at $100. By this measure, WSU students are saving in total $14,400,000 annually, provided faculty continue to use resources created with the grant funds.
Please make a gift to WSU Libraries today to help make course materials affordable for students. For every $4,500 raised, the Libraries, in conjunction with the WSU Provost’s office, can award one faculty member an affordable learning grant. For more information, please visit www.oer.wsu.edu and https://libguides.libraries.wsu.edu/affordablelearning/home.