Open Educational Resources (OERs) Reduce Textbook $$$ for Students

Stack of 4 textbooks

College students spend more than $1,000 on books and supplies every year, according to a 2018 College Board study, but a program at Cerro Coso Community College is making those costs less daunting.

Open Educational Resources (OER) allow students to save money on textbooks by providing free online 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.

The second round of AB 798 Textbook Affordability/OER grant funding has made a tremendous impact on reducing textbook costs as faculty replace expensive textbooks with OERs. Second round funding allowed 101 class sections to convert to OERs, affecting 2,974 students for a total savings of $428,178.

Combined with round 1 grant funding, a grand total of 146 class sections adopted OERs to reduce or eliminate textbook costs; 4,281 students were impacted, collectively saving students a total of $603,004 in textbook costs between Fall 2016 and Fall 2019.

Cerro Coso's goal is to further increase OER adoptions in additional courses and save students even more money.

Studies show that reducing textbook costs allows student 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 due to the cost of the textbook or attempt to complete a class without purchasing a textbook.