Institutional partnerships could save students millions in 2016-17 academic year


Rice University-based publisher OpenStax selected 11 universities and colleges to be members of its national Open Educational Resource Institutional Partnership Program starting in the 2016-17 academic school year. The program could potentially save students at partner schools a combined $4.2 million through further adoption of open educational resources, such as OpenStax textbooks.

OpenStax’s partnership program is designed to provide free consultation for schools wanting to increase the use of OER on campus and to build a community of institutions dedicated to lowering the cost of course materials using OER. Selected institutions were required to demonstrate their commitment to using OER to drive student success and graduation rates.

“We’ve seen significant demand for this program,” said Nicole Finkbeiner, associate director for institutional relations at OpenStax. “Each partner school has demonstrated a desire to replace costly textbooks with as many open educational  resources, including OpenStax textbooks, as possible. We’re thrilled to offer these institutions the support they need to make college more accessible and affordable for their students.”

Through its free, high-quality textbooks, OpenStax has saved students $68 million since its inception in 2012, with $42 million of those savings in the 2015-16 academic year alone.

The following 11 schools were selected from 43 applicants. Each school’s estimated potential savings per year after successful completion of the program are shown in parentheses:

Alamo Colleges ($1.3 million).

University of Arizona ($630,000).

Washington State University ($424,000).

Utah State University ($423,000).

Pasadena City College ($419,000).

University of Connecticut ($261,000).

Lansing Community College ($220,000).

College of the Canyons ($215,000).

Tulsa Community College ($163,000).

Northern Essex Community College ($103,000).

South Florida State College ($36,000).

They join the 15 current members of the OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program:Auburn University, BC campus, Central New Mexico Community College, Grand Rapids Community College, Maricopa Community Colleges, Ohio State University, Salt Lake Community College, Tarrant County College, UMass Amherst, University of Idaho, University of Georgia, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas at San Antonio, University System of Georgia and Virginia Tech.

Each school will receive individualized consulting on its OER efforts and strategy. Program benefits include a customized strategic plan to increase OER use on campus, up to 10 hours of dedicated tech support for using, editing or adding to OpenStax books or content from OpenStax CNX, at least one campus visit from an OpenStax representative and additional support tailored for the institution. Institutions will also benefit from community support through the other schools in the partnership.

“The Alamo Colleges are excited about expanding the options for open educational resources for faculty and students through the partnership with OpenStax and look forward to collaborating with other colleges and universities in the program,”  Chancellor Bruce Leslie said.

OpenStax uses philanthropic grants to produce high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are free online and low-cost in print. It launched in 2012 with the goal of publishing free textbooks for the nation’s 25 most-attended college courses and is on track to meet its goal of saving students $500 million by 2020.

OpenStax’s 16 college titles were used by nearly 400,000 students at one-in-five degree-granting U.S. colleges and universities this past academic year, and the number of instructors adopting OpenStax’s books jumped by more than 100 percent in 2015.

Current titles include College Physics, Biology, Concepts of Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Principles of Economics, Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Introductory Statistics, Precalculus, Algebra and Trigonometry, College Algebra, Chemistry, U.S. History, Psychology, Introduction to Sociology 2e and Prealgebra.

OpenStax recently released Calculus and plans to publish University Physics, Microbiology and Astronomy this fall, with more titles available in spring 2017. 

The OER Institutional Partnership Program is made possible by the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. OpenStax is made possible by support from the Hewlett Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michelson 20MM Foundation, the Maxfield Foundation, the Calvin Kanzanjian Economics Foundation, the Bill and Stephanie Sick Fund and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6327.