he Ohio State University is working to move textbooks off the shelves and online to make learning more affordable and accessible to students.
An update on the university’s Affordable Learning Exchange program was presented to the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee at the June Board of Trustees session on Thursday. The program works with Ohio State faculty to find or develop high-quality, open and affordable alternatives to conventional, high-cost textbooks.
“A focus has been placed on the cost of textbooks. We talk about the cost of tuition and fees. We talk about housing and dining. We talk about the other costs of school as well,” Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron said. “Sometimes it’s that last dollar that makes a difference if a student is successful or not.”
Nicholls State University has begun offering free access to all required textbooks for general education courses in the university’s library.
The books in the Ellender Memorial Library will change each semester with the list of required reading for each course. General education courses are typically taken in the beginning of student’s time in college and cover basic math, English, fine arts, humanities, science and social studies.
Students who attended a four-year in-state university for the 2017-18 spent about $1,250 on textbooks, according to the College Board, a nonprofit that aims to prepare students for college.
The average price of a new textbook increased from $58 in 2011-12 to $80 in 2015-16, according to the National Association of College Stores. The average price of a used textbook was $53 in 2011-12 and $51 in 2015-16.
Nicholls President Jay Clune said the free books are the first step in a plan to reduce the financial burdens on students and their families.
“This initiative provides an opportunity for our students to easily access information directly related to their education,” said Clune. “I want to thank the staff at Ellender Memorial Library for helping us achieve this goal. I will continue to work with the library staff to make as many of the required books free for our students in as many courses as possible.”