[Open-education] [OER-advocacy] 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey Report - from Florida

Paul Bacsich Sero paul.bacsich at sero.co.uk
Mon Aug 8 20:37:30 UTC 2016

A very important survey with six key conclusions (listed at the end of this posting). Conclusion 5 is especially intriguing.
Paul Bacsich
Coordinator, Open Education Working Group - http://education.okfn.org/blog/ 
Senior Consultant, SeroHE - http://www.serohe.co.uk 

From: Robin Donaldson 
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2016 7:05 PM
To: cccoer-advisory at googlegroups.com ; oer-advocacy-coalition at googlegroups.com 
Cc: John Opper 
Subject: [OER-advocacy] 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey Report


The results of Florida’s 2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey Report have been analyzed, and a PREVIEW of the draft executive summary with key findings and full report are attached. The full version of the report will be available in approximately four weeks. 

This survey is the third in a series of surveys from 2010 through 2016 that shed light on the impact high textbook costs are having on college affordability, as well as college success and completion. In 2016 alone, more than 22,000 students from all of Florida’s public colleges and universities voluntarily participated in the anonymous online survey. The steady increase in student participation has grown from over 14, 000 participants in 2010 to 20,000 in 2012, and more than 22,000 in 2016 suggest the effect that the high cost of textbooks is having on academic careers and financial burden continues to be a topic of concern for Florida students.


We greatly appreciate the assistance and support of the Florida Board of Governors and the Florida College System for this research effort, and Florida’s public institutions for taking part in this study.


We look forward to your comments about the findings.




Dr. Robin Donaldson


Robin L. Donaldson, PhD

Director, Member Research and Services

850.922.3107 | rdonaldson at flvc.org | @robinldonaldson

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The six main conclusions:
  1.. The high cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access, success, and completion. The findings suggest the cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access to required materials (not purchase textbook, 66.6%) and learning (earn a poor grade, 37.6%, fail a course, 19.8%). Time to graduation and/or access is also impacted by cost. Students report they occasionally or frequently take fewer courses (47.6%); not register for a course (45.5%); drop a course (26.1%), and withdraw from courses (20.7%). 
  2.. Textbook costs for Florida university and college students continue to trend higher. More than half (53.2%) of students spent over $300 on textbooks during the spring 2016 term, and 17.9% spent over $500. Comparing the 2016 survey to the 2012 survey, there was a decrease of the cost category “$0–$100” from 9.8% to 8.2%. Cost category “$601 or more” increased from 8.5% to 8.9%. In addition to textbooks, 77.2% percent of respondents spent $200 or less on required instructional materials, and 10.6% of students reported spending $300 or more on the required instructional material. 
  3.. Required textbooks are purchased but not always used in course instruction. The average survey participant purchased 2.6 textbooks that were not used during his or her academic career. That is a statistically significant increase from the 1.6 textbooks indicated in the 2012 survey. 
  4.. In terms of the cost of the textbook and other instructional materials, college students were in even worse shape than university students. Of the college students surveyed 56.3% spent $301 or more on textbooks, versus 50.5% for university students. 
  5.. Students in Associate degree or Bachelor’s degree program spent more on textbooks than students in Master’s or Doctorate degree programs. For those students seeking an Associate degree, Bachelor degree with 0-60 credit hours, and or Bachelor degree with 61 or more credit hours, 54.6%, 57.8% and 55.0% of the students, respectively, reported having spent $301 or more on textbooks. This is compared to 38.0% of students seeking a Master’s degree and 45.0% seeking a Doctorate degree who reported spending $301 or more. 
  6.. Florida students are reducing cost by a variety of means. The most-used cost-saving measure reported by students was purchasing books from a source other than the campus bookstore (63.8%). Compared with the 2012 survey, this indicates an increased willingness of students to rent textbooks. A majority (84.0%) of the participants reported willingness to rent textbooks to reduce cost; this is up from 73.5% in the 2012 survey. In addition, more students reported they chose to use the cost saving strategy of “renting digital textbook” (29.6%) rather than “buying lifetime access to a digital version of a textbook” (3.1%) as a cost-saving strategy.

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