Achieving the Dream announced Tuesday that it was launching a $9.8 million initiative to develop degree programs at 38 community colleges that use open educational resources.
Each of the programs, which are located at colleges in 13 states across the country, will be designed so students don't have to worry about paying for textbooks on their way to achieving an associate degree. Textbooks are estimated to cost $1,300 a year for a full-time community college student, according to the nonprofit organization. Students who don't complete college are more than 50 percent more likely than those who graduate to cite textbook costs as a major financial barrier, according to Public Agenda, a research firm.
"This initiative will help further transform teaching and learning in the nation's community colleges," said Karen Stout, president and chief executive officer of Achieving the Dream, in a news release. "Extensive use of OER will enable students to have access to more dynamic learning tools and a richer academic experience at a cost that will help more students complete their studies."
Achieving the Dream estimates that these degrees will be available to at least 76,000 students over a three-year period. The funding for the initiative comes from a consortium of investors that includes the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, the Shelter Hill Foundation, and the Speedwell Foundation.