College helps students save on textbooks

College helps students save on textbooksCERRO COSO COMMUNITY COLLEGE — Studies show that reducing textbook costs allows students to move through their programs more rapidly because they can afford to take more classes instead of paying for costly textbooks. Sometimes a student avoids taking a class because of the cost of the textbook or attempts to complete a class without purchasing a textbook.

Cerro Coso is committed to helping students by reducing the cost of textbooks through the adoption and creation of Open Education Resources, and integrating library resources to replace expensive commercial textbooks. OERs are educational materials that are in the public domain or have a license that permits anyone on the internet to freely use, edit and distribute those resources.

The local college was one of 26 California community colleges and 19 CSUs to receive grants to save students money by empowering professors to adopt high-quality, free and open educational resources for course materials. Two years later the AB 798 Textbook Affordability Grant, has resulted in 45 course sections adopting OERs, impacting 1,307 students and collectively saving students a total of $174,826.

The college not only met the grant requirement of reducing textbooks costs with the inclusion of OERs in 22 course sections but also exceeded it, more than doubling the number of courses using OERs.

The California OER Council said it expects that if funding is available, colleges will be able to apply for matching funds in a second round of bonus funding if they fully implemented their textbook affordability program during the first round. That decision made Cerro Coso eligible to apply for an additional $44,000 in funding.

If the college receives the additional funding in October, Cerro Coso will continue its commitment to reduce textbook costs in another 44 course sections, further reducing textbook costs for students in even more classes.

The college’s goal is to eventually allow students to complete a degree with zero textbook costs.

Symbols are included in the college’s online course schedules to indicate courses that use OERs. See for more information.

Story First Published: 2018-10-12