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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide is intended to assist Oakland University faculty in learning about, finding and teaching with OER.

Raising Cost of Textbooks

College textbook prices have risen 1,041% since 1977. Three times higher than inflation! 1

The high cost of textbooks is an obstacle to student success, is associated with dropout and failure, and contributes to the heavy burden of student debt following graduation. The College Board estimates the average undergraduate university student pays $1,250 per year for textbooks and supplies.2

The student chapter of the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) reports:2,3,4 

  • 66.6% of students have decided not to buy a textbook because of the cost.
  • 94% of students believe that not purchasing a textbook will hurt their grade.
  • Nearly all students said that the cost of the book was a factor in deciding whether to take the class.
  • 29.7% of students in 4-year public institutions use financial aid to cover 70% of the cost of textbooks which can amount to more than $300 per semester.

American students are paying $1,575 billion per semester or $3.15 billion per year in financial aid on textbooks.


Impact of high prices

Florida Virtual Campus

OU Students speak about textbook prices