U of M’s Open Textbook Network reports student savings of $1.5 million from open textbooks

Faculty from nine colleges and universities across the United States have saved their students an estimated $1.5 million in textbook costs to date by adopting open textbooks, the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Network (OTN) reported this week.

The OTN, created and run by leaders at the U of M’s College of Education and Human Development, is an alliance of schools committed to improving access, affordability and academic success through use of the open textbooks.

Open textbooks are funded, published and licensed to be free for students or available in print for a low cost. The U's Open Textbook Library lists nearly 200 open textbooks in a number of subject areas.

The average U.S. college student will be asked to spend more than $1,200 on books and supplies this year, according to the College Board. Research has shown that the cost of textbooks has increased over 1,000 percent since 1977, and this high cost can have a significant negative impact on student learning.

The $1.5 million in student savings was reported by nine early OTN members, including California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo, Cleveland State University, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Arizona, University of Minnesota, University of Northwestern St. Paul, and University of Oklahoma. Most of these savings were realized within the last year.

Over the past year, the Open Textbook Network has grown from seven to more than 25 members. In sum, these members represent 84 institutions nationwide.

"Open textbooks eliminate the cost barrier between students and their learning," said David Ernst, director of the Center for Open Education and executive director of the OTN. “And these are real savings for students and their families.”

Senators Al Franken of Minnesota and Dick Durbin of Illinois are sponsoring a bill in the U.S. Senate, announced earlier this month, that would offer grants to help schools create pilot open textbook programs.

OTN leaders are available for interviews. Contact Gayla Marty, 612-626-5650, marty001@umn.edu, or the University News Service, 612-624-5551, unews@umn.edu, to schedule interviews.


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