More Good News for the Open Textbooks Movement
On Friday, Congress passed the omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018, setting aside $5 million to pilot a nationwide open textbooks grant program.
Offered through the U.S. Department of Education, the program will “support projects at institutions of higher education that create new open textbooks or expand their use in order to achieve savings for students while maintaining or improving instruction and student learning outcomes,” said a statement accompanying the bill.
This is tremendous news for the growing movement to increase the use of open educational resources at universities across the country, and for all the students who stand to benefit from the potential savings—which could reach over $50 million, according to an estimate by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
At Rutgers, where the average student spends $1,500 each year on textbooks, the Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Program has helped relieve the burden of costly course materials. The OAT Program, which is administered by Rutgers University Libraries, has saved Rutgers students $2.1 million in its first two years by helping professors transition from traditional textbooks to low- or no-cost alternatives.
The OAT team will be following the development of the national program closely in order to identify potential opportunities for Rutgers. Applications for the next round of OAT awards are slated to open in the fall.
For more information, contact the OAT representative for your Rutgers location.