The STCC Library released a report this week that highlights findings from a 2019 survey about the cost of course materials. Over 1,000 students responded to the survey last fall, which asked them to reflect on how the cost of books and other course materials affects their lives and educational decisions.

The survey revealed that the cost of course materials is a significant burden for students. Students report weighing the cost of course materials against the cost of other basic needs like transportation and groceries. One student wrote, “I save up my money to get the book I need. Less food to eat for the week and no gas money, but this will all pay off.”

Many students forego purchasing or renting required course materials because the cost is too high, even at the risk of performing poorly in a course. Furthermore, two-thirds of the students surveyed report that the cost of course materials affects which courses they take, and how many courses they take. One student commented, “If I can’t afford the book or access code, I drop the class.”

In the face of these challenges, the STCC Library continues to further its open educational resources (OER) initiative. This includes helping faculty to find free and high-quality course materials to replace traditional textbooks. Currently, STCC offers 64 courses that have zero textbook costs (ZTC). The combined annual savings forf these courses totals over $450,000.

The full report of the student textbook survey can be found on the STCC Library web site.