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OPEN FL

Guide for the open and affordable learning community of Florida, OPEN FL.

Why is this a crisis?

The average yearly book and supply costs are reported at $1,275 (IPEDS, 2018). This cost plus other costs of attendance accumulate and students carry with their degrees large debt, averaging $24,461 in Florida and $28,446 nationally (Peterson's LLC, 2017); 2014-2015 federal loan averages/student in Florida ranged at $2,000 to $3,500 for colleges and $4,750 to $9,250 for universities (Economic Security Report, 2017). While OER efforts will not completely remove this debt, removing textbook category costs may reduce Florida individual’s student total debt by 20%. Given 52 weeks a year, one can clearly calculate the burden education expenses put on Florida students, especially from under represented and low-income households:
Table 1. Student work requirements to cover sample education costs. *FL min. wage =$8.25

Projected Cost

Full-Time Hours

(@ FL min. wage*)

Weeks of work 

(@ 40 hrs gross)

Weeks of work

(@ 10 hr limit)

Florida Grad. Debt Avg. $24,461

2,964.96

74.12

296.50

Nat. Avg. Books/Supplies $1,275

154.55

3.86

15.46

 

Of the Florida students surveyed in 2016, almost 97% demonstrated need to reduce textbook costs (DLSS, 2016). Looking at colleges, key finding 4 from the 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey suggests “college students are in worst shape than university students,” followed by finding 5 where “Associate or Bachelor’s degree programs spent more on textbooks than students in Master’s or Doctorate degree programs” (DLSS, 2016). Because of increasing prices, students have demonstrated, see Table 2, textbook coping measures with serious consequences (DLSS, 2016). Textbook affordability efforts encourage students to “sell textbooks back at the end of each term,” but students reported selling books before finals indicating students may instead be trying to “get the best buyback price” (FLDOE, 2018). With zero-cost OER, we eliminate textbook cost coping measures, and potential risks.

Table 2. Based on 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey-Table

Answer Options

2016

2012

Take fewer courses

47.6%

49.1%

Not register for a course

45.5%

45.1%

Drop a course

26.1%

26.7%

Withdraw from a course

20.7%

20.6%

Earn a poor grade

37.6%

34.0%

Fail a course

19.8%

17.0%

Not purchase the required textbook

66.5%

63.6%