The 2015-2021 UHCC Strategic Plan explicitly mentions lowering the cost of textbooks through adoption of Open Educational Resources (page 27):
Reducing the Cost of Education for Students
The tuition, fees, and book cost of attending a community college should be eliminated as a barrier or consideration for all students. Analysis of unmet need shows the UH Community Colleges to be approximately $3 million short of delivering on this commitment to its current students. This gap will be eliminated through:
• Expanded private fundraising for need based scholarships;
• Expanded partnerships with other organizations or employers who can support the direct costs experienced by students;
• Further expansion of student use of available federal and other non-UH sources of support; and
• Adoption of Open Education Resources to replace textbooks, with most textbooks replaced by the year 2021.
OERs are online educational materials, including textbooks, that are specifically designed to be openly available at no, or low, cost and are often licensed, usually through Creative Commons. They can be downloaded, reused, modified, and re-distributed.
The costs of textbooks has been steadily climbing and have become a financial obstacle to many students. Average college textbook/supplies costs per year per student are between $1200-$1300 (College Board, 2015). According to a 2015 Leeward Community College survey, the cost of textbooks has a large impact on courses taken and the decision to purchase textbooks for enrolled courses.
The UH System OER Team shares information and resources with the UH community (check out their blog for the most current updates) to support the growth of OER in order to ease the expensive burden of textbook expenses for students. Check out their presentation at Kapiolani Community College in Spring 2015.
The Leeward OER initiative progress list covers a timeline from information gathering in Fall 2014 through program development and community building in Fall 2016.
In Fall 2016, Leeward had 217 $0 textbook CRN sections in their class schedule, accounting for 19% of all CRN sections, covering 71 different subjects taught by 71 instructors.