Top 10: Which colleges save the most with free textbooks?


David Ruth

Jade Boyd

Top 10: Which colleges save the most with free textbooks?
Schools recognized for saving students money with free, open education resources

HOUSTON — (Aug. 1, 2016) – Rice University-based publisher OpenStax announced today the top 10 schools that have saved their students the most money through adoption of OpenStax free college textbooks in the 2015-16 academic school year.

Photo courtesy Rice University

Photo courtesy Rice University

“We are glad to recognize and celebrate the schools whose leaders and faculty have adopted OpenStax free textbooks,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director at OpenStax. “Those who adopt open textbooks for their students are the real stars here. Their leadership in instituting our titles has saved students significant money.”

OpenStax textbooks have saved college students more than $68 million since 2012 and $42 million in the 2015-16 school year alone. The publisher’s rapid, large-scale impact is due to its unique open education resource business model: OpenStax uses philanthropic grants to produce high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are free online and low-cost in print. It launched with the goal of publishing free textbooks for the nation’s 25 most-attended college courses and is on track to meet its goal of saving students $500 million by 2020.

The schools and school systems that have saved the most money for students with OpenStax free textbooks are:

No. 1
University System of Georgia
35,942 students

No. 2
California State University System
21,655 students

No. 3
Florida College System
19,689 students

No. 4
University of Texas System
15,466 students

No. 5
University System of Ohio
10,785 students

No. 6
BCcampus (British Columbia, Canada)
10,242 students

No. 7
Illinois Community College Board
8,574 students

No. 8
Virginia Community College System
8,451 students

No. 9
Tarrant County College District (Fort Worth, Texas)
8,373 students

No. 10
University System of Maryland
7,718 students

To date, OpenStax textbooks have been adopted by 2,026 college systems/schools and used by 686,300 students.

“All the schools on our list are national leaders in OER,” Williamson said. “Georgia, in particular, has strong leadership support for open education. They are focused on improving student access to high-quality learning resources and ensuring that their students have the tools to succeed in class. Georgia saw an opportunity with open education resources, and OpenStax specifically, to make a big difference for students.”

“We expect more schools and faculty to adopt our textbooks as they see how others have benefited,” he said. “We expect to save students $60 million in the coming academic year.”

Williamson said anyone can start a conversation about OER, whether it is a faculty member talking among colleagues, a student approaching a professor or leaders initiating a campuswide dialogue.

OpenStax titles include: College Physics, Biology, Concepts of Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Principles of Economics, Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Introductory Statistics, Precalculus, Algebra and Trigonometry, College Algebra, Chemistry, U.S. History, Psychology, Introduction to Sociology 2e,Prealgebra and American Government.

OpenStax recently released Calculus and plans to publish University Physics, Microbiology and Astronomy this fall. Additional titles will be added in spring 2017.

OpenStax is made possible by the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation, the Maxfield Foundation, the Calvin K. Kanzanjian Foundation, the Bill and Stephanie Sick Fund and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation.


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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to


About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.