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Group of Arizona community colleges receives grant to develop 'textbook' sharing network to keep student costs down

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A grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help eight Arizona community colleges develop a textbook sharing network to reduce the amount of money students must spend on course materials.

Yavapai College is leading a consortium of eight community colleges to develop Open Educational Resources, or OERs, through the Open Textbooks for Rural Arizona project. It’s aimed at converting 31 classes from traditional textbook format to OER material over the course of three years.

The $2 million grant will be shared between Yavapai College, Coconino and Mohave Community Colleges, Northland Pioneer College, Arizona Western, Eastern and Central Colleges and Cochise College.

OERs have been gaining worldwide popularity as a way to offset the cost of college textbooks, which has risen by more than 142% since 1998, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

It’s estimated that approximately 31% of students choose not to take a course due to the cost of textbooks.