College Helping Students Save on Textbook Costs

Stack of 4 textbooks

Studies show that reducing textbook costs allows students to move through their programs quicker because they can afford to take more classes instead of paying for costly textbooks. Some students avoid taking a class entirely due to the cost of the textbook, or attempt to complete a class without purchasing a textbook.

Cerro Coso Community College is committed to helping students by reducing the cost of textbooks through the adoption and creation of Open Education Resources (OERs), and integrating library resources to replace expensive commercial textbooks. Open Educational Resources (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.

Cerro Coso was one of 26 California Community Colleges and 19 CSUs to receive a grant 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 at the college adopting OER's, 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 anticipated that if funding was available, colleges would 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, which 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. Interested in finding out more about OERs at the college? See