Open Textbooks Could Help Students Financially and Academically
January 28, 2014 by Danya Perez-Hernandez
As the price of college textbooks continues to increase, more students are opting to skip the books even if their grades suffer, a survey conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has found. In a report released on Monday, the group said open textbooks—written by faculty members, peer-reviewed, and available free online—could help make textbooks affordable again.
For the report, “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market,” more than 2,000 students at 156 college campuses in 33 states were surveyed during the fall of 2013. Sixty-five percent of the students said they were not buying all of their required textbooks because of the books’ cost, and 94 percent of those who didn’t buy the books reported being concerned about how that would affect their grades. About 48 percent said that the cost of textbooks had influenced their decisions about which and how many classes to take.
The research group estimates that each student could save about $100 per class by using open textbooks. Those are textbooks with open copyright licenses that are available free online, although students who want printed versions would pay modest fees.
The College Board estimates that the average student attending a four-year public college will spend $1,200 on books and supplies this year. According to a 2013 study by the Government Accountability Office, textbook prices have increased by 82 percent in a 10-year period, far more than consumer prices. Read more.