Textbook costs play a major role in the cost of a college education, and the high cost of textbooks directly undermines student success, access, and affordability -- central values of UAA’s 2020 mission. While low-cost alternatives to many textbooks exist, adopting affordable textbooks can be challenging for faculty. Worse, students may feel powerless to advocate for affordable textbooks if they believe they have no influence in faculty textbook adoptions.
One way to reduce the out-of-pocket cost for students is to adopt free or low-cost textbooks. Adopting free-to-access materials, or Open Education Resources (OER), has been demonstrated to improve student success. When students have access to their materials from the first day of class, grades improve and withdrawal rates decrease, especially for those students traditionally underrepresented in higher ed (Colvard et al., 2018). Students also take more courses, allowing them to move toward graduation faster (Hilton et al., 2015).