September 26, 2019
By: Jennifer Kirk, Marketing & Communications Specialist | Research and statistics
compiled by Hilary Baribeau, Digital Scholarship Librarian | Graphics designed by
Kacie Pallan, UW Libraries Marketing & Graphics Student Intern
In the winter of 2018, the UW Libraries established our “Alt-Textbook Grant” program. The purpose of the grant program is to support UW faculty in creating or
adapting free and open textbooks for their courses.
2016 survey of the impact of textbook students on college students
According to Creative Commons, open educational resources (OER) are “free and openly licensed educational materials
that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.” Open education
resources can significantly impact affordability for students. In a world of rising
costs of college tuition and fees, the Libraries has positioned itself to directly
lower the cost of a student attending UW.
According to a 2016 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of textbooks has risen over 88% since 2006 and 2016 -- and it continues to rise at a rate of three times the rate of inflation. To counterbalance
that statistic there has been a significant rise in institutions creating, adopting
and utilizing open education resources. According to OER publisher OpenStax, their
open access publications have impacted 6.2 million students, saving them over half a billion dollars since 2012.
Textbook costs correlate directly with student retention and can act as a barrier
for students to get a quality education or even complete their degree. According to
a study completed by Florida Virtual Campus in 2016, 67% of students didn’t buy the required book(s) for a course because of
cost, 48% of students took fewer courses because of the cost of the book(s), 46% didn’t
register for a course because of the cost of book(s), and 26% of students dropped
a course because of the cost of the books(s).
Since spring 2018, UW students have saved over $141,000 in textbook costs
With the help of faculty across twelve schools and departments at UW, the Libraries
Alt-Textbook Grant has helped save 1,405 students a savings of $141,233. But the potential
impact will be even greater -- some grant projects are still in the works and once
completed have a projected total savings of $335,433. OER materials that are produced
from this program are archived in Mountain Scholar, the University’s open-access institutional repository managed by UW Libraries.
Our call for alt-textbook grant proposals for spring 2020 implementation is open until
October 15. For more information please visit our Alt-Textbook Grant website.