Open Access: A textbook case of students not having enough money

Bill Sizemore | The Virginian-Pilot | December 30, 2013

At a recent meeting of Old Dominion University’s governing Board of Visitors, a startling statistic caught board members’ attention. According to a survey, nearly one in five ODU students are attending classes without the benefit of textbooks. The reason: They can’t afford them.

...Along with escalating tuition and fees, accelerating textbook prices are a key reason why a college education is becoming less and less affordable – not just at ODU, but across the nation.Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that college textbook prices soared 82 percent over the past decade – almost as much as tuition and nearly three times the overall rate of inflation.

...[Tidewater Community College]TCC has just finished the first semester of a pilot program that allows students to complete a two-year associate degree in business administration without buying a single textbook.The “Z Degree” program – “Z” for zero textbook cost – makes use of free, openly licensed online materials known as open educational resources, or OER.

It’s estimated that students will save as much as $3,000 over two years – about 30 percent of the cost of the degree.