OER Services

OERs: Helping to bring down the cost of textbooks

In the spring of 2017, the Alfred University (AU) Libraries conducted surveys of students and faculty about textbooks

Below are some of the highlights from the surveys. You can view a complete summary of the results here.

Student Survey

  • 20% of students spend $0-$100 per semester on textbooks, 52% spend $101-$300, 20% spend $301-$500, 7% spend $501-$800.
  • Students reported that the high cost of textbooks has caused them to not purchase the text (47%), to charge texts to credit card even though they can’t afford them (25%), to forego essentials such as food or rent to pay for texts (23%), or to earn a poor grade because they could not afford the text (15%).
  • 53% of students say that the high cost of textbooks sometimes prevents them from doing readings or assignments, and 11% say that it frequently prevents them from doing readings or assignments.

Student Textbook Survey

Faculty Survey

  • 55% of faculty said that students occasionally tell them that they can’t afford the textbook for their class, and 20% of faculty said that students tell them this frequently.
  • 55% of faculty had not heard of OERs prior to taking the survey, 10% of faculty say that they have assigned open textbooks in the past, and 9% were unsure.
  • Faculty say that not knowing enough about OERs is the biggest barrier to using them, followed by a lack of OER resources in certain subject areas, concerns about quality, and not knowing where to find OER material.
  • 60% of faculty say that they might be interested in using currently available OERs, and 27% say that they are definitely interested.

Faculty Textbook Survey

Since conducting the survey, the AU Libraries have engaged in a variety of activities to make faculty more aware of the impact of the cost of textbooks on our students and to share information about opportunities to use OERs in place of traditional textbooks.

 Here are some of the steps we have taken:

Our goal is to continue raising awareness about the high cost of textbooks and the impact it has on students’ wallets and academic success. As always, we welcome your input and feedback.