OUR STORYOver the last three decades, the cost of college textbooks and course materials have risen to more than three times the average increase for all goods and services. Like the 2000s housing bubble, observers talk about a “college textbook bubble.” Affordability Counts started when FIU Online could no longer ignore the increasing cost of textbooks. Our idea was to recognize faculty who took steps to advance affordability in their courses with incentives and medallions.
We quickly realized the potential of this strategy. In no time, 283 medallion-awarded courses (and counting) saved our students over $880,000. In 2017, we were even awarded an OLC Accelerate Effective Practice Award for our success. With FIU faculty, we brainstormed ways to better sort and curate low-cost materials to facilitate further adoptions. Our solution was to develop a website with a searchable database of courses using Open Education Resources and low-cost materials that their peers already adopted to great results. Soon we wanted to expand the number and reach of these resources. Why not open the database to faculty across Florida? And that’s how the idea of a statewide initiative was born. By building a statewide repository based on common course codes, all faculty in the state university system now have access to low-cost course materials.
Today we aim to solidify strategic partnerships with other Florida state universities and colleges to exponentially increase the number of affordable solutions on our database, and effectively resolve the textbook crises one course at a time. Now in our partnerships pilot year, we are grateful to learn from and support each other in support of our common mission––affordability. That’s why every Affordability Counts partner is important. We look forward to building new partnerships in our effort to forge a more affordable future.