The cost of textbooks is something almost every college student struggles with. And textbook prices show little sign of regressing; the Consumer Price Index for college textbooks rose 161 percent from 1998 to 2014, according to data from the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics.
However, initiatives at Mt. Hood Community College and across the state of Oregon aim to alleviate the financial burden of purchasing class textbooks. Starting this fall, new descriptions will appear in the MHCC Class Schedule, identifying textbooks
for classes as either “Low-Cost: Under $50” or “No-Cost: $0”. These designations will appear in a column to the right of the course name (for participating classes only) and will help students better plan for their total course costs.
The new designations originated from the Oregon Legislature’s House Bill 2871, which was passed in 2015. HB 2871 established the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant Program and set aside $700,000
to provide faculty at Oregon universities and community colleges with grant funding to produce OER curriculum. Section 4 of HB 2817 also established a statewide mandate that all publicly funded universities and community colleges label their courses
that use OER or that offer low-cost/no-cost textbook options.
MHCC staff and faculty remain committed to providing textbooks to students at affordable prices. In the fall of 2015, the school established the Textbook Affordability Team (TAT), a cross-collaborative group of administrators, staff, faculty and student
leaders at MHCC who focus on textbook affordability initiatives. The TAT’s primary mission is supporting faculty in the adoption of OERs and MHCC Library Resources. Recently, the TAT launched the Course Section Reporting Form (CSRF), allowing
faculty to more easily identify the no-cost/low-cost designations for their classes.
“I’m pleased that we’re now providing this information to our students,” said MHCC President Dr. Debra Derr. “I think it’s a crucial step to making our college – and education in general – more accessible, and it helps our students better plan for
their overall course costs.”
This fall, students can also complete the Associated Student Government’s Textbook Cost Survey. Administered by MHCC’s Analytics and Institutional Research (AIR) division, the survey will provide important feedback on how the cost of textbooks impacts
For additional information on textbook affordability initiatives at MHCC, visit mhcc.edu/TextbookAffordability