Free Textbooks: A Necessary–and Possible–Transformation in Higher Education

Oct 26, 2020 | 20 Million Minds

Image by Julie Leopo/EdSource

Image by Julie Leopo/EdSource


More than $3 billion worth of financial aid in the U.S. is spent on course materials. That doesn’t need to be the case. By leveraging open educational resources and free textbook degree programs, universities can make coursework more accessible to all students. 

When students are freed from the burden of exorbitant textbook costs, more students are able to pursue a degree granting program. Additionally, working students may be able to reduce their work hours since they are no longer spending an average of $1,200 a year on books. In addition to increasing accessibility, free textbook degree programs tend to see better grade point averages among students. 

Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Hal Plotkin, former senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Education under President Barack Obama, highlight the bipartisan support of open educational resources like free textbooks, arguing that now is the time for all students to benefit from them. 
Read more in EdSource.