Open Educational Resources (OER), Finding

Why does OER matter in higher education?

Textbooks drive up the costs of courses and education for all students. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for educational books and supplies were 1,934.44% higher in 2019 than they were in 1967 (a $1,934.44 difference in value). Between 1967 and 2019 educational supplies experienced an average inflation rate of 5.96% per year. In other words, educational supplies costing $100 in the year 1967 would cost $2,034.44 in 2019 for an equivalent purchase.

Percent change since 1978 for educational medical services, new home price, and CPI (chart)

Image Source for Chart

This image shows “Percent Change Since 1978 for Educational Books, Medical Services, New Home Prices, and CPI.” It shows the amount that different categories have gone up over time, according to the Census Bureau. Consumer Price Index has gone up 250%; new home prices have gone up 325%; medical services have gone up 575%. And by far the biggest increase is in educational books (college textbooks), which has risen 812%.

Cartoon about student loan debt

Image Source, Student Loan Debt Article

Educational costs relate to another major issue in the United States - student loan debt. This image is a cartoon that depicts a student coming home with a five-figure student loan debt on their back, with parents saying “Move back home? Kids today are so lazy and irresponsible! Your mother and I started out with nothing!” and the student's response (with their heavy load of student loans) is “trust me, I would’ve loved starting out with nothing …”

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