In the fall of 2019, the library asked students to participate in a survey regarding the cost of course materials. Over 1,000 students participated. The survey findings show that the high cost of course materials has a negative impact on students, and it reaffirms the importance of textbook affordability at STCC and beyond.
STCC students will spend an average of $716-1,352 in 2019-2020 on their textbooks. This is a large amount relative to the cost of tuition and fees. Some students find themselves weighing the cost of textbooks against basic necessities like groceries and transportation.
A majority of students said they have decided against buying a required textbook at some point because it was too expensive. Nearly all of the students who declined to buy a textbook due to high cost were concerned that not buying the textbook would hurt their grades in the course.
Nearly two-thirds of students said they have spent money on a textbook that they came to feel they did not need, often because only a small portion of the book was used for the course.
About two-thirds of students said the cost of textbooks has some or a great deal of influence on which and how many courses they take.
Free and open course materials appeal to STCC students for multiple reasons, including flexibility, cost, and timeliness. Plus, research has shown that using vetted OER can improve student outcomes.