AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some Austin Community College students won’t have to worry about textbook fees this semester after the college expanded a partnership with a nonprofit that offers access to free e-textbooks.
OpenStax is a nonprofit ed-tech initiative based at Houston’s Rice University. Stuents can have access to Open Educational Resources (OER) like text and other digital assets that are freely accessible and available online.
Austin Community College first got started incorporating OER’s in 2016. At present, more than 50 programs at ACC use OER’s including English, Social Studies and History. These resources are used in Z-degrees where the classes use free materials to save students money.
“Students we have talked to say that even saving $20 to $60 a semester is extremely important,’ Carrie Gits, the college’s head librarian said. “That $20 can make a difference between being able to afford groceries, being able to pay their rent so offering students that free option for their course material is sometimes that final barrier or final obstacle that they’ve overcome by being free.”
Since incorporating open educational resources, ACC leaders say students have collectively saved more than $3.5 million.
This school year, more than 10,000 students will be using free e-textbooks.