Affordable Textbooks


The Problem: Textbook Pricing Has Gone Way Up

College textbook prices have risen 1,041 percent since 1977.

Until recent history, the average student spent more than $1,200 on books and materials according to the College Board.

Pricing is Going Down at Minneapolis College

Pricing for course materials has been going down once the Traditional and Alternative Education Materials committee enacted their program at Minneapolis College.

Beginning in 2015, this committee of faculty and staff identified the best alternative course materials and integrated them into the various course curricula to save students money while not lowering the academic quality of any course.

Big Results

Minneapolis College students have saved nearly 2 million dollar dollars on textbooks by the end of Spring term 2020 since the program began in Summer of 2017.

What This Is

Open Educational Resources (OERs) is the force driving pricing downward at Minneapolis College. This is similar to "open source software" in that materials are in the public domain and have been released under an intellectual property license that permits free use and re-purposing by users. That's one part. Another part just as important is making these open educational resources part of the curriculum. Dispensing with the expensive textbook content and substituting OERs and alternative materials.*

For teaching courses, OERs can be:

  • Full courses
  • Course materials
  • Modules
  • Textbooks
  • Streaming videos
  • Tests
  • Software
  • Any other tools, materials or techniques to support access to knowledge*

Alternative materials include Direct Digital. Direct Digital includes a class fee for eTextbooks, tutorials & class activities, but less than half the cost of traditional textbooks and materials in most circumstances. This saves students $200,000 per semester.

For More Information

It takes a committee of committed people to not only put forward these cost-saving resources but implement them into the curricula.

Minneapolis College is one of the first to do this in Minnesota.

* For more information on this whole process, visit the library webpage.