OpenStax, a nonprofit based at Rice University that publishes free online peer-reviewed textbooks, reports that more than two million students at U.S. colleges used at least one of its textbooks during the 2017-2018 school year. The nonprofit also estimates that students saved $177 million using the free textbooks in the 2017-2018 year. The increased use of of OpenStax textbooks comes as the AAP reported that sales of higher education course materials fell 7.2% in 2018.
According to OpenStax, its textbooks are in use at 48% of U.S. colleges and were used by 2.2 million students in 2017-2018. OpenStax textbooks, which are part of the larger Open Education Resource movement for free educational resources, have been used by more than 6.2 million students since it began publishing its own textbooks in 2012. OpenStax has published 32 free textbooks.
The top 10 list of universities with the most students using OpenStax free text books was led by Pasadena City College where 46,396 students used at least one OpenStax textbook, representing a cost saving to students of more than $4.2 million, according to OpenStax. The university of Georgia is next on the list with 42,245 students using OpenStax textbooks (and saving $3.9 million), followed at number three by Salt Lake Community College with 41,339 students using the textbooks for a saving of $3.7 million.
Megan Mittelstadt, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Georgia, said OpenStax/OER “not only lower the cost for students” but data show that the use of OpenStax books “shows improved end-of-course grades, especially for Pell recipients, part-time students and student populations historically underserved by higher education.”
OpenStax managing director Daniel Williamson, said, “These schools are driving access for all students by supporting the open educational resource (OER) movement. Thanks to their leadership and supportive campus communities, millions of students now have one less obstacle on their educational journey.”
The top 10 schools that have served the most students with OpenStax free textbooks are:
1. Pasadena City College - 46,396 students, estimated $4,241,055 saved
2. University of Georgia - 42,245 students, estimated $3,939,027 saved
3. Salt Lake Community College - 41,339 students, estimated $3,742,798 saved
4. University of Maryland, University College - 39,151 students, estimated $3,583,518 saved
5. Grand Rapids Community College - 35,421 students, estimated $3,269,956 saved
6. Georgia Highlands College - 31,414 students, estimated $2,869,610 saved
7. De Anza College - 30,918 students, estimated $2,763,580 saved
8. Lansing Community College - 27,812 students, estimated $2,499,835 saved
9. Hillsborough Community College - 27,519 students, estimated $2,516,266 saved
10. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign - 27,080 students, estimated $2,447,362 saved