OpenStax announces top 10 schools that have adopted free college textbooks

Rice University-based publisher OpenStax announced today the top 10 schools that have served the most students with the adoption of its free college textbooks in the 2017-18 school year.

Pasadena City College

Photo courtesy of Richshell Allen/PCC

OpenStax textbooks are in use at 48 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S., and 2.2 million students used at least one of its books in the 2017-18 school year alone. OpenStax textbooks have been used by over 6.2 million students since 2012.

“These schools are driving access for all students by supporting the open educational resource (OER) movement,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director at OpenStax. “Thanks to their leadership and supportive campus communities, millions of students now have one less obstacle on their educational journey.”

Over 46,000 students at Pasadena City College, the top-ranking school, are using a free OpenStax textbook, saving an estimated $4.2 million.

“We are so excited to hear about the cost savings that our students have realized through their faculty adopting OpenStax textbooks,” said Walter Butler, acquisitions librarian at Pasadena City College. “Being able to participate in the OpenStax Institutional Partnership was immensely helpful in establishing and nurturing a campus community dedicated to increasing student savings on instructional materials. Our success is a testament to not just our faculty, but to our larger community’s continued investment and dedication to support student success and to close equity gaps.”

The University of Georgia ranks second in number of students using OpenStax textbooks, with 42,245 students saving an estimated $3.9 million.

“At the University of Georgia, we are growing a culture of open educational resources thanks to dedicated advocacy for affordable textbook alternatives by our students, faculty, staff and administrators,” said Megan Mittelstadt, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Georgia. “Since the OER initiative began at UGA in 2013, faculty adoptions of OER have benefited more than 58,000 UGA students and helped them save over $5.6 million in textbook costs as of Spring 2019. It’s no surprise that the majority of these savings are a result of the adoption of OpenStax texts — the high quality, peer-reviewed OpenStax books are popular among our faculty seeking to implement OER in service of equity and student academic success.”

The University of Georgia is seeing benefits beyond costs savings.

“OER not only lower the cost for students, but data from a small sample of UGA courses using OpenStax books also shows improved end-of-course grades, especially for Pell recipients, part-time students and student populations historically underserved by higher education,” Mittelstadt said.

OpenStax textbooks have saved college students more than $177 million in the 2017-18 school year alone, and they’re used in over 100 countries around the world. Thirty-two books have been published so far, and the library is still growing.

The top 10 schools that have served the most students with OpenStax free textbooks are:

1. Pasadena City College – 46,396 students, estimated $4,241,055 saved

2. University of Georgia – 42,245 students, estimated $3,939,027 saved

3. Salt Lake Community College – 41,339 students, estimated $3,742,798 saved

4. University of Maryland, University College – 39,151 students, estimated $3,583,518 saved

5. Grand Rapids Community College – 35,421 students, estimated $3,269,956 saved

6. Georgia Highlands College – 31,414 students, estimated $2,869,610 saved

7. De Anza College – 30,918 students, estimated $2,763,580 saved

8. Lansing Community College – 27,812 students, estimated $2,499,835 saved

9. Hillsborough Community College – 27,519 students, estimated $2,516,266 saved

10. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – 27,080 students, estimated $2,447,362 saved



About David Ruth

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