Reducing Student Costs for Textbooks

A new campus task force is strategizing ways to reduce the cost of textbooks and course materials for students. The committee of faculty, students and staff was appointed by Provost Sona Andrews; Bob Liebman, presiding officer of the PSU Faculty Senate; and Eric Noll, president of the Associated Students of PSU. “The cost of textbooks and course materials is a complex issue, but not one we should shy away from,” said Andrews. Marilyn Moody, dean of the Library, chairs the task force, which will submit its recommendations by the end of February 2015.

The cost of textbooks and other course materials is a major concern and financial barrier for students. The College Board estimates that undergraduate students paid an average of $1,207 for textbooks and supplies in 2013-14. The newly formed Task Force on Textbooks and Course Materials: Reducing Student Costs is charged with reviewing and making recommendations for PSU that will address these rising costs.

The task force will consider such topics as the use of open textbooks and open educational resources; textbook adoption strategies and policies; and the effective use of library online resources and services. The task force will also review successful initiatives and strategies used by other colleges and universities to reduce student course material costs.

“We know there are many questions as we open up the textbook/course-materials-cost can of worms,” wrote Andrews in a recent blog. “Can we really reduce costs when so much of the cost of published material is out of our hands? What role will faculty need to play? Will this be an effort to tell faculty what books/resources they can and cannot assign for their courses? Are open-source materials any good? What are the technical and policy barriers to reducing textbook cost?”

Task Force on Textbooks and Course Materials: Reducing Student Costs


Marilyn Moody, Dean of the Library

Shadi Alkhaledi
Kathleen Steppe
Chelsey Weinmann

Joel Bettridge, English
Karen Bjork, Library
Jill Emery, Library
Berrin Erdogan, School of Business Administration
Emily Ford, Library
Gerardo Lafferiere, Mathematics and Statistics
Kim Pendell, Library
Ralf Widenhorn, Physics

Vince Schreck, Academic Affairs

Stephanie Doig, Library