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Affordable Course Materials

The Problem

The rising cost of attending college is an issue of concern. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the cost of tuition between 2011 and 2021 increased by 33%. Textbooks, an important resource for education, have seen larger increases. The price rose by 41% between 2011 and 2018, then decreased significantly. Those prices have begun to increase again since 2021. According to the Trends in College Pricing the average student at a private four-year college spends around $1,200 on books and supplies each year. This significantly impacts the affordability of college for our students.

Chart Title: Consumer price indexes for tuition and school-related items, not seasonally adjusted, July 2011-July2021. Data Displayed for: All items,

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Cost of college tuition has remained stable since September 2019 at (visited March 16, 2022).

Why Use Affordable Course Materials at CSP?

Affordable Course Materials

  • Using Open Educational Resources (OER) and other zero or low cost materials removes financial barriers to education for our students.
  • Instructors gain control of the content used in their course. They can control the content by remixing content and choosing the pieces that best meet course objectives.

In a 2018 study at University of Georgia, Colvard, et al. found that:

  • Students perform better in OER classes (received higher grades)
  • Grades improved for all students,  but DFW (grades of D, F, and withdrawal) rates decreased dramatically for students hypothesized to most benefit from affordable course materials (Pell eligible, under-served populations, and part time students)
  • Most significant change in DFW rate was for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Study found a 53.12% increase in average grade and 29.54% decrease in DFW rate for students not enrolled full time

Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Park, H. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metricsInternational Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262–276.

We encourage you to work with your library liaison to learn more and to begin looking for materials that will work for you.

What Are Affordable Course Materials?

Affordable Course Materials are materials that students can obtain for low or zero cost. Affordable Course Materials include Open Educational Resources, library licensed materials (e.g. journal articles, ebooks, streaming videos), and public online materials. Using these materials in classes help make college more affordable for students.

Affordable Course Materials include low cost materials and zero cost materials. Zero cost - Use any combination of these materials to customize your course; Open Educational Resources (OER), Public Online Materials, and Library Licensed Materials.