UTSA Libraries make strides in addressing the rising cost of textbooks

UTSA Libraries make strides in addressing the rising cost of textbooks

(July 12, 2016) -- It’s no secret that the escalating cost of textbooks has a significant impact on students and their ability to succeed in their classes.

According to the College Board, students should budget between $1,200 to $1,400 per year for textbooks and supplies. This additional cost not only impacts students’ ability to attend college, but also their ability to continue and complete coursework.

“Coupled with rent and other daily expenses, no one can afford a $300 textbook,” said Michael Oparaji, a senior at UTSA. “I remember one semester during my freshmen year I spent $650 on my textbooks, and I said never again.”

Recently, UTSA Libraries partnered with OpenStax College, an initiative seeking to increase student access to open educational resources by developing free, faculty peer-reviewed textbooks for use in university classrooms. The partnership with OpenStax will lay the foundation for quicker expansion and growth in open textbook adoption at UTSA. While OpenStax currently boasts 24 textbooks for introductory courses, their collection is steadily growing and will expand into more specialized disciplines. As an added incentive for instructors, a mini grant is being offered for the first time this year to faculty who incorporate low-cost/no-cost materials into a class.

Though the OpenStax partnership is a new initiative, UTSA Libraries has been a leader in improving student access to textbooks for years. A textbook reserve program has been in place since 2009, allowing students to check out textbooks for many of UTSA’s large introductory classes for up to two-hours at a time. Although it’s not a complete substitute to purchasing a textbook, the textbook reserve program helps remove barriers to studying by giving students short-term access to their textbook even if it is misplaced, on order or left at home.

The textbook program has proven very popular with students. Since the program’s inception, UTSA Libraries have spent $257,727 on purchasing 2,559 textbooks, and the costs continue to rise. From 2014 to 2015 the Libraries saw over a 30% increase in spending on textbooks on reserve.

“We’re constantly looking for new ways to respond to the increased cost and demand for student textbooks,” said Jan Kemp, UTSA Libraries Associate Dean. “Open and reduced-cost education resources hold promise for our students and these programs are a step in the right direction.”

By Ryan Schoensee
UTSA Libraries, Communications Specialist


Learn more about UTSA Libraries.

Connect with UTSA online at FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and Instagram.






UTSA Bold Promise CTA

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.