This Simple Idea Could Cut Costs for College Students Across the US

What's Hot

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

9 Tips to Ensure You’ll Have Enough to RetireFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

5 Spots Where Retirees Can Live for Less Than $40,000Real Estate

10 Ways to Reduce Your Homeowner’s Insurance RatesFamily

10 Ways to Pull Together the Down Payment for a HomeCredit & Debt

Chew on This: The Story Behind Your Hershey’s Halloween TreatsBusiness

A modest move toward open-source, electronic textbooks could save $1 billion for U.S. students annually, according to a new report.

College is expensive. Whether it’s paying tuition, or ponying up the cash for textbooks and supplies, college outlays add up quickly. As tuition costs continue to rise, there is one area where expenditures could be trimmed: textbooks.

Low-cost or free open-source electronic textbooks could save college students up to $128 per course, each semester, according to a new report by the Student Public Interest Research Group.

Open-source books are faculty-written, peer-reviewed books made available online for very little or free. Students would also have the option to print the book for a minimal cost.

On average, course textbooks and supplies cost students a whopping $1,200 to $1,300 per academic year, the report said. Students at community colleges are hit especially hard, with textbooks costing up to 40 percent of the average cost of tuition. At four-year colleges, book fees equal about 13 percent of tuition costs.

“As long as publishers continue driving new book prices higher, used books, rentals and e-textbooks aren’t enough to solve the problem,” the report said.

The report analyzed data from five colleges that conducted pilot programs with open textbooks. The resulting student savings were impressive.

“If every student had just one of their traditional textbooks replaced with OER or an open textbook, it would save students in this country more than $1 billion annually,” the report noted.

But using open-source textbooks could provide more than just student savings, The New York Times reports.

Previous research by the Student PIRGs found that the high cost of textbooks can interfere with education. Some students, for instance, may delay buying the required text for a class and fall behind; or they simply don’t buy it at all, putting themselves at a disadvantage.

Of course, open-source textbooks aren’t available for all courses. Students need to talk to their instructors to see if open-source is an option. The report noted that more than 2,500 faculty members from 750 colleges have committed to considering using open textbooks if it works for their class.

What do you think of using open-source textbooks as a way to trim college costs? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Watch this video to learn about other ways to get a college education without racking up a mountain of debt:

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Yes, You Can Afford College: 4 Tips for Getting Scholarships

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,687 more deals!