The average Rutgers student spends about $1,500 per year on textbooks and course materials — $300 more than the national average.
Last year, the Rutgers University Senate passed a resolution in favor of creating an open-source textbook pilot program modeled after a program at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Vitez said. On Feb. 3, Rutgers announced the creation of a $12,000 competitive grant program available for professors at Rutgers.
Applications have not been sent out yet, but based on projections, the pilot program is going to save students more than $1 million, she said.
“(Open-source textbooks) makes these (books) free to download and share online, and students can either purchase it themselves or buy these books at the bookstore for less than $40 compared to a big (biology) textbook that’s $300 – that’s a pretty significant saving,” said Kaitlyn Vitez, Rutgers NJPIRG Student Chapters campus organizer.
“It’s really awesome that (the University) is moving forward on the issue, and that we can try and save students some money,” Vitez said. “We’re just really glad that this program is now a reality and instructors are going to have the opportunity to bring open-source into the classroom.”
The pilot program that was created is only in place for one year, Vitez said. Rutgers can test out the application process and what the results look like at the University.
If the program is successful, she said it may serve as a model for other schools across the nation.
“What’s really important is that we get the word out about this pilot program so that it’ll be funded for a second year and continue to save students money,” she said.