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Why Open Educational Resources?
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Student Benefits
As the cost of publisher textbooks continues to skyrocket, there is an obvious cost benefit to students.  In fact, according to the Consumer Price Index, college textbook costs have exceeded all other consumer products including housing and health care.
Students are increasingly bearing the cost of higher education on their individual shoulders as federal and state funding for education continues to be cut.  This has left student loan debt in the U.S. at over $1.6 trillion dollars.  That's second only to mortgage debt.  Yikes!

The question that higher education needs to answer is, are we causing more harm with our current business practices in the textbook market?


With OER, Students get

  • free immediate access to open educational materials on the first day of class.

  • low-cost print versions of texts

  • texts that can meet accessibility standards

  • no additional financial stress when already facing school, housing, and food insecurity stresses

  • digital access from anywhere for remote learners

Quality Education

With OER, Students

  • keep access to their course materials after the course ends, unlike publisher online access

  • increase engagement with course content when they are only given materials relevant to one class

  • are more willing to read the course materials when they understand the instructor customized the materials for them

  • have greater access to materials as diverse as they are

  • learn about copyright and their ability to contribute to scholarship in addition to the subject of their course

Students are creative when it comes to buying textbooks.  Using rental models, sharing materials, and just choosing not to purchase, college students are navigating their way through the process...but should they have to be?
Institutional Benefits
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The choice to move courses to low or no-cost materials is the decision of faculty.  Institutions can benefit immensely from those decisions by supporting and publicly sharing the work that faculty are doing.


Institutional OER programs improve enrollment, retention, as well as success and completion rates.  Institutions are

  • demonstrating their commitment to students

  • showing the value added for students with the cost-savings data

  • promoting positive educational practices

  • providing a platform for student voices around affordability

  • giving students a plan for degree completion that is affordable and achievable

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