A collaboration between Rice University’s nonprofit publisher OpenStax and ten post-secondary institutions across the country is expected to turn out as a major money saver for their students in the next academic year.
The non-profit publisher offers free online textbooks and has become a leader in open educational resources (OER) since its inception in 2012.
In this year’s cohort, Prairie View A&M University is the first historically black university to participate in the program.
“We have a diverse group of students that come from different countries, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic groups,” said Yolander Youngblood, professor of biology at Prairie View A&M and an advocate for the university’s participation in the OpenStax program.
“There are often culturally relevant situations that must be dealt with in the classroom, which creates a challenge for the instructor, It is a unique experience to show how open educational resources work under these circumstances and we are excited to be part of this year’s cohort.”
According to the Federal Register notice, textbook costs have seen a great surge in the past decade, with 88 percent rise in 2006-2016. The average cost increased to $1,263 for four-year college students and $1,458 for two–year schools in 2016-2017.
Last year, OpenStax and eleven colleges and universities across the country collaborated to save nearly $17.4 million on textbook and materials costs with the use of free learning materials available on OpenStax.
For this year’s cohort, the schools that are selected to improve access to quality learning materials include Austin Community College District, College of DuPage, Fresno State, McHenry County College, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Millersville University, Muskegon Community College, North Carolina State University and Portland State University.