Have you ever wondered why textbooks cost so much?

In the past twenty years, textbook prices have reached an all-time high market price, even preventing some students from being able to afford their course books. According to the video OER Basics, textbooks go up in about price 6% every year. For this reason, students will sometimes avoid buying their textbooks and in order to pay for food, housing and other essential resources.

What are Open Educational Resources (OER) and how can they help students?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are open licensed course materials that are completely free to students, as well as reusable, revisable, remixable, redistributable, and retainable for teachers. OER materials are made free to students by the authors, who choose to license their work so that it is affordable to students. OER can be an amazing resource for any student that is struggling due to the high costs of textbooks, and students can be great advocates to their instructors and their school to start using OER!

Why is it important to know about Open Educational Resources (OER)?

As we can observe in the graph, the cost of college textbooks has risen faster than the overall Consumer Price Index. Textbook costs are one of the reasons that college students end up in debt.  Open Educational Resources (OER) are a great option to avoid spending thousands of dollars on textbooks, especially  because students are often buying them in addition to the financially draining costs of utilities and living necessities.

The cost of textbooks compared to the Consumer Price Index

The cost of textbooks has risen at almost 4 times the cost of other consumer goods. Source: US GAO, https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgao/9547598441

How do textbook costs affect student’s lives?

A large amount of students have confessed on avoiding purchasing or borrowing their class textbooks. Source: U.S. PIRG, https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/fixing-broken-textbook-market

Many students avoid buying textbooks in order to use that money for other living necessities. As we can observe in the image, we can tell that this is issue is very common and that it has impacted more than 50% of of the college students surveyed.

Some students skip buying an access code to see the online textbook for their class due to the high price. This is a big problem , since homework assignments are often only available to students through the access code required for the class.

Some students say they avoid buying the access code for their textbooks. Source: U.S. PIRG,  https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/fixing-broken-textbook-market

Some students select courses based on the cost of the textbook. Source: U.S. PIRG, https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/fixing-broken-textbook-market

Many students are on a budget and can barely afford their daily necessities, for this reason they have to decide what courses to take based on which have the most affordable materials. Otherwise, they may have to sacrifice many things such as meals or basic necessities just to pay for the course materials needed to pass their class.

Open Educational Resources (OER) available to students:

All of the textbooks included in each of these links are carefully reviewed by several faculty instructors to ensure the quality of information and it’s suitability for college level courses.