UBC Students Cheer BC Government Move to Reduce Textbook Costs

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) of UBC applaud the province’s investment
of $3.26 million in open education resources (OERs).

Vancouver, BC. On April 16, 2019 Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training announced $3.26 million in funding for open educational resources (OER). This significant announcement is an investment in students across the province, whose benefits will only compound as students use these resources year after year.

Four in ten UBC students worry about how they will afford textbooks every year, while two out of three will forego purchasing a textbook because of financial considerations. This places students who struggle financially in a situation where the inaccessibility of mandatory course materials may impact their studies. When added to the burden of high costs of tuition, housing, food, and basic necessities, some students are forced to do without textbooks, obtain them illegally, or abandon their studies altogether.

“No student should have to choose between buying groceries or buying textbooks and being successful in their courses,” says Cristina Ilnitchi, AMS VP of External Affairs. “This is an issue that the AMS has been advocating on for over four years alongside students across BC and we thank Minister Mark, Premier Horgan, and MLA Bob D’Eith for listening to students and supporting this initiative.”

OERs help to remove the financial barrier students face by making educational materials available free-of-charge. They also enhance student learning by allowing instructors to modify textbook materials to best fit their course and faculty often engage students through different types of media that allow them to contribute back to greater bodies of knowledge online. This important funding will go towards the creation of resources that further support the adoption of open textbooks like test banks, and an open-source homework system.

Since 2011, over 63,000 UBC students have benefited from Open Education Resources, saving each of them potentially hundreds of dollars. Each new textbook developed as an OER will result in reduced textbook costs for every student in BC that takes that course for years to come. Wednesday’s announcement is a step forward to making a post-secondary education more accessible and affordable.

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For more information please contact:

Eric Lowe, Marketing & Communications Manager
AMS of UBC
604-822-1961
ericlowe@ams.ubc.ca