On average, college students spend between $600 and $1,400 on textbooks each year, according to the College Board. These costs contribute to mounting student debt and cause some students to take longer than four years to graduate.
FIU has put in place a number of measures to help students manage costs and graduate on time, including some specifically aimed at reducing the cost of books.
The latest is FIU’s partnership with OpenStax Institutional Partnership Programs, which encourages the creation and use of free, peer-reviewed, open source textbooks. FIU is one of 11 universities invited to participate in this strategic partnership in 2017-2018, which provides consulting services and technical support to improve and augment FIU’s open educational resources, while making them available to students elsewhere.
“At FIU we are concerned about costs because so many of our students are first generation college students and come from families of modest means,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “OpenStax is providing us a new way to help our students – and others around the state and country – get a high quality education that is also cost-effective.”
Last July, FIU Online launched an initiative to recognize faculty who are looking to reduce the cost of course materials for students. Affordability Counts currently has awarded 103 professors teaching 150 courses with the Affordability Counts Medallion, which is granted to professors that have selected course materials costing $60 or less.
“Providing affordable course materials in a sustainable way is a top priority for us,” said Interim Assistant Vice President for FIU Online Joseph Riquelme, who chairs the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) Council on Distance Learning and Student Services. “The OpenStax program complements our Affordability Counts Initiative by scaling our capacity to adopt open educational resources campus-wide.”
Affordability Counts is being piloted by FIU and will be shared with FLVC members across the state. In addition, FIU has created the FIU Textbook Affordability Task Force, led by the Office of the Provost. The task force has spearheaded FIU’s institution-wide efforts to find and create initiatives that make higher education more affordable. By reducing textbook and other instructional material costs, FIU minimizes financial hurdles and helps students progress to timely graduation.
OpenStax is committed to improving access to quality learning materials. An initiative of Rice University and supported by philanthropic foundations, OpenStax provides free textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure readability, accuracy and adherence to scope and sequence requirements of most introductory college courses. For more information, visit http://openstax.org.
Florida International University is classified by Carnegie as a “R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity” and recognized as a Carnegie Community Engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as business, engineering, computer science, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes almost $9 billion each year to the local economy. The university received honors in all categories of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2017 “Great Colleges to Work For” survey. FIU graduates are consistently among the highest paid college graduates in Florida and are among the leaders of public and private organizations throughout South Florida. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission with multiple state-of-the-art research facilities including the Wall of Wind Research and Testing Facility, FIU’s Medina Aquarius Program and the Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute. FIU has awarded more than 220,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, the Miami Beach Urban Studios, and Tianjin, China. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and more than 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.