48 percent of colleges, 2.2 million students using free OpenStax textbooks this year

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This year, over 2.2 million students are saving an estimated $177 million by using free textbooks from OpenStax, the Rice University-based publisher of open educational resource materials.
Since 2012, OpenStax’s 29 free, peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbooks for the highest-enrolled high school and college courses have been used by more than 6 million students. This year, OpenStax added several new books to its library, including Biology for AP® Courses, Introductory Business Statistics and second editions of its economics titles.
OpenStax books are having a tangible, marketwide impact, according to a 2017 Babson Survey that found that “the rate of adoption of OpenStax textbooks among faculty teaching large-enrollment courses is now at 16.5 percent, a rate which rivals that of most commercial textbooks.”
“We’re excited about the rapidly growing number of instructors making the leap to open textbooks,” said OpenStax founder Richard Baraniuk, who is also the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice. “Our community is creating a movement that will make a big impact on college affordability. The success of open textbooks like OpenStax have ignited competition in the textbook market, and textbook prices are actually falling for the first time in 50 years.”
As a result of the unprecedented downward shift in textbook prices, OpenStax will be decreasing its estimated student savings figure from $98.57 to $79.37 based on federal data. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics published a study in May stating the average undergraduate student spent $555.60 on required course materials for the academic year. Dividing that number by seven courses (the undergraduate average, according to enrollment data) comes out to $79.37 in savings for each student using an OpenStax book.
“This is exactly what we hoped to see,” OpenStax Managing Director Daniel Williamson said. “We’re thrilled about this shift because when open materials drive the price of all textbooks lower, it means our books haven’ …

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