Affordability and Excellence

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Faculty members such as DeLoris Hesse, who uses a free online textbook in her anatomy and physiology courses, have made UGA a national leader in the adoption of open educational resources.

The use of open educational resources continues to expand across campus, saving students money while also delivering the exceptional learning experiences students have come to expect from the University of Georgia. 

The prices that publishers charge for textbooks have risen by nearly 90 percent over the past decade, which greatly exceeds the rate of inflation and strains the budgets of students and their families. National data show that undergraduate students at four-year colleges and universities spend approximately $1,200 per year on textbooks and supplies. Some students forgo purchasing textbooks to save money, but in doing so risk hampering their learning outcomes. 

Against this challenging national backdrop, the University of Georgia has made a concerted effort to facilitate the adoption of free online textbooks and other open educational resources. Learning Technologies Grants administered by the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, as well as external funding from the University System of Georgia and its Affordable Learning Georgia initiative, has helped several faculty members—particularly in large enrollment courses—transition from costly print textbooks to high-quality, online open educational resources. Since the University’s initiative began in 2013, UGA students have saved approximately $3.1 million in textbook costs.

The response from students to open educational resources has been overwhelmingly positive, and UGA and the University System of Georgia have received national recognition for our efforts to help make college more affordable. 

We have made tremendous strides in minimizing textbook costs, but there’s still room for additional progress. Earlier this year I charged a committee—which included faculty members and representation from the Student Government Association, Office of Instruction, Center for Teaching and Learning, and the UGA Libraries—with exploring ways to promote an even wider adoption of open educational resources. As an institution, we’re committed to promoting affordability while also maintaining an extraordinary learning environment for students.

More information:
Center for Teaching and Learning
Affordable Learning Georgia