University System of Md. Program Aims to Battle Rising Book Costs

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File photo of a student shopping for textbooks. (Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

File photo of a student shopping for textbooks. (Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — College textbook prices have increased by 812 percent since 1978, according to the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C. based think tank.

The astounding cost of books that are required for many university courses is the impetus for a new University System of Maryland Student Council initiative that will explore the concept of “open-source textbooks.”

Open-source materials carry open copyright licenses and are available for use by students and teachers at little or no cost. Many are available in alternative formats, like e-book or audio.

The University System of Maryland includes 12 institutions, including Bowie State, Salisbury, Towson and the University of Maryland, College Park.

According to The Diamondback, the University of Maryland, College Park student newspaper, faculty members in the University System who teach larger, lecture-sized courses are being encouraged to learn more about and even incorporate open-source materials this fall.

Beginning in the spring semester, the University System Student Council will study the effectiveness and feasibility of the program by collecting data on student satisfaction and achievement.

James Jalandoni, USMSC president, tells The Diamondback that, depending on the pilot program’s success, students could see a state-supported open-source textbook initiative in the coming years.

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