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Open Educational Resources

A guide to help faculty find and use Open Educational Resources.

Student Affordability

Textbook costs have increased more than three times the inflation rate since the 1970s (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023)

This is especially relevant for Queens because around 30% of Queens students receive Pell grants (Queens Fact Book, 2020, n.d.).

Multiple studies have shown that textbook costs are a substantial barrier for the vast majority of students (Jenkins et al., 2020; Office of Distance Learning & Student Services, 2022; Vitez & Nagle, 2021).

These costs negatively impact students in multiple ways, as evidenced by this 2022 study of students in Florida:

  • 53.5% of students didn’t purchase a required textbook due to its cost
  • 43.7% took fewer courses
  • 38.5% didn't register for a specific course
  • 24.2% dropped out of a course

According to that same survey, students buy an average of 1.6 textbooks each year that they do not use.

Additionally, cost barriers are even more significant for historically underserved college students, so reducing textbook costs is a matter of equity and access (Jenkins et al., 2020).


A 2019 meta-analysis found that courses that used open textbooks had significantly lower withdrawal rates than courses using commercial textbooks (Clinton & Khan, 2019).

Reductions in withdrawal rates (as well as grades of D and F) are even more significant for historically underserved students (Colvard et al., 2018).

Fundamentally, according to DeRosa & Jhangiani (2018), “When faculty use OERs, we aren’t just saving a student money on textbooks: we are directly impacting that student’s ability to enroll in, persist through, and successfully complete a course” [emphasis added].