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Why Open & Affordable Course Materials?

College textbook prices increased by 87.5% from 2006 to 2016, over four times the rate of inflation for all other items in the Consumer Price Index. This unprecedented growth in prices has made it difficult for many students to purchase all of their required course materials. A study from Florida Virtual Campus [pdf] has shown that when textbooks are prohibitively expensive, students will: 

  • Locate illegally uploaded copies of course materials online  
  • Not purchase required course materials  
  • Buy an outdated edition of a required textbook 
  • Refrain from purchasing required course materials 

The choices students make when they cannot afford course materials can negatively impact their ability to succeed in a course. By encouraging the use of free and low-cost materials in the classroom, OAEC hopes to decrease the number of students unable to purchase their required materials and increase the number of students excelling in their studies at Iowa State.  

As part of the Open Education Network, we affirm their Guiding Principles to support the common good, equity, inclusivity, action, humanity, integrity, and shared abundance in education.