Compounding the escalating cost of college is the growing expense of textbooks and other course material. High textbook costs, as much as $500 every semester, have led nearly two-thirds of students to skip buying a book.
To address this growing crisis, more than 150 student leaders and administrators from colleges across Massachusetts called on the legislature to increase the Department of Higher Education’s budget by $2.5 million to support Open Educational Resources, or OERs. OERs are teaching, learning, and research materials that replace the need for expensive textbooks. OERs have been released under an open license that permits free access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.
While the initial effort to allocate funding to this program from the state budget is not likely to happen, our advocacy has led to new enthusiasm for the program among lawmakers. We’re working with some legislators to pursue other legislative actions that will fund programs that are proven to help professors make the switch to more affordable educational materials for students.