States to Cut College Costs by Introducing Open Source Textbooks

States to Cut College Costs by Introducing Open Source Textbooks

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These two states are moving to slash the astronomical costs of higher education by introducing open source textbooks.

The University System of Maryland awarded mini-grants to 21 recipients across 12 different universities for converting all of their reading materials to open source software platforms for students. Between the seven Maryland community colleges and 5 public four-year institutions, the initiative has the potential to save over 8,000 students $1.3 million in textbook costs over the Fall 2017 semester.

New York state Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is also moving to invest $8 million of the state budget into open source educational materials. The budget also included a new proposal that will provide free college tuition to any families or students in the state making less than $125,000 per year.

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“With this Budget, New York is once again showing what responsible government can achieve. The result is a Budget that advances the core progressive principles that built New York: investing in the middle class, strengthening the economy and creating opportunity for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“This Budget enacts the Middle Class Recovery Act to continue the Empire State’s upward trajectory and creates a path forward for those striving to get ahead. By making college at our world-class public universities tuition-free, we have established a national model for access to higher education, and achieved another New York first.”

In the U.S., the cost of textbooks in higher education has risen exponentially.  Since 1978, the cost of textbooks has risen 812%, outpacing even the cost of medical services and new housing. Nationally, students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks.  Within Maryland alone, 2-year and 4-year students spend over $223 million in textbooks.

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(Photo by Lifesupercharger, CC)

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