Lane saves students $1 million using low-cost textbook resources

Paying for tuition is not the only concern of today’s college students. There’s also the additional expense of textbooks.

Lane’s effort to reduce the cost of textbooks for students has surpassed the $1 million mark, according to Open Educational Resources librarian Meggie Wright.

“OERs are resources that people publish with an open license on top of a traditional copyright,” explains Wright. It means students can access or download materials online for free.

The open license affords permissions that aren’t allowed under a traditional copyright, including permissions to make copies, download and share files and even revise the material. For instance, with an OER textbook, an instructor could make a copy of each chapter and put it online for their students to download, rather than needing each student to purchase the actual book.

OER textbooks are generally much cheaper than traditional books, and that makes a significant difference to students. “We hear students say, ‘I thought I was going to have to drop out his term until I found out that you had these resources available for me because I didn’t have the money to buy them,’” Wright says. “We hear a lot of stories from students on the costs of textbooks.”

Lane’s million dollar savings is actually an underestimate. The OER program preceded Wright, who joined the library in January 2017. Until then, no one had tracked savings from using OERs. Wright compared the cost of low-cost resources with a $100 average textbook cost, and multiplied the difference by the number of students in each qualifying class after week three of each term.

OER low-cost resources are available for classes across the board, including art history, economics and communications. Math classes offer the most affordable resources. “We had our Math 98 instructors adopt an OER book this year and in just one term they saved students in the class over $13,000 in total,” Wright enthuses. “These numbers speak loudly.”

Want to learn more? Visit the Lane OER website.

Published by Lane Community College Public Affairs, May 2018.

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Joan Aschim

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