A report from The College Board states that students at four-year institutions budgeted an average of $1,240 for books and supplies for the 2022–23 academic year.
At WSU, the Affordable Course Materials Task Force works to ease that burden.
The task force consists of staff from Stewart Library, Wildcat Store and its marketing team and WSU Online, as well as faculty. It formed in 2018, but stepped up its efforts as students dealt with financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One way they’ve helped is with Open Educational Resources (OER), materials that are in the public domain or released under a license allowing them to be freely used, modified or shared. The task force awards grants for faculty to train in using the materials. The first year of grants were awarded using Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund money, and they are now funded by the Provost’s Office and library funds.
Since the grant program started, OER materials have helped students save over $1.6 million, including $790,527 during the 2023 fiscal year.
The task force also encourages faculty to embrace Course Reserves, which include book chapters, films and more in the library databases; and Day One Access, a collaborative program between the Wildcat Store, faculty and publishers to give students access to digital materials at a reduced cost.
In 2023, the task force presented Course Materials Affordability Awards to Kathleen Paco Cadman, associate professor of nursing; Sara Dant, professor of history; and the Department of Foreign Languages faculty for making WSU more affordable for students.