CLC students save more than $850,000 using free textbooks; college announces Illinois Community College OER Summit

The College of Lake County was one of 11 schools chosen to participate in the 2017-18 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program to encourage use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks on campus. CLC began the program with 3,455 students using the free textbooks, known as open educational resources (OER). So far, in the 2018-2019 academic year, CLC has grown the impact to 8,661 students, bringing the total student savings from OER to $853,715 per year.

Page J. Wolf, Ph.D., Faculty Development chair and CLC OpenStax partnership lead, confirmed the importance of OER in higher education. "Studies have shown that courses that use OER have lower percentage of students in a class who get a D or an F, or who withdraw. Also, one study suggests that the use of OER may positively impact disadvantaged student populations at greater rates than the general populations," she said. "This means that OER is not only saving students money, but contributing to student success overall."

CLC was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating willingness to drive adoption of OER. CLC received individualized consulting from OpenStax and joined a cohort of schools advocating widespread use of OER at their schools. Institutional partner schools from 2017-2018 saw a 55 percent increase in the amount of students using OER, saving an additional $1.7 million in the coming academic year.

OpenStax's mission is to improve access to quality learning materials. An initiative of Rice University and supported by philanthropic foundations, OpenStax provides free textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure readability, accuracy and adherence to scope and sequence requirements of most introductory college courses. OpenStax also provides

Advanced Placement textbooks developed and peer-reviewed by educators, along with low-cost, personalized courseware that helps students learn.

The high cost of traditional textbooks-an average of somewhere between $600 and $1,400 per student each year, according to studies by NACS and the College Board-not only impacts students' ability to attend college but also their ability to continue and complete coursework. OER, including the free, peer-reviewed textbooks offered by OpenStax, eliminate cost barriers for students and allow unrestricted, immediate access to learning materials, increasing the likelihood for students to complete their courses successfully.

CLC is committed to student success by reducing high textbook costs for students while still presenting high quality content and protecting academic freedom. An event on Nov. 30 will be hosted by CLC in conjunction with College of DuPage for Illinois community college faculty, administrators, librarians and instructional designers to discuss OER. CLC strives to see representation from all Illinois community colleges to integrate OER at more locations across the state. For more information on the Illinois Community College OER Summit, visit

For details on CLC's open educational resource initiative, visit

About College of Lake County:

College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes,

provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We're proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County. For more information, visit

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