Textbooks and other required course materials can add significantly to the cost of a college degree, and UCF faculty are doing what they can to help offset some of those costs.

During the Fall 2020 semester, at least 31 faculty members supplied their required course materials at no cost to students by using open educational resources (OER). These efforts resulted in an estimated combined savings of $751,339 for 6,425 students enrolled in courses across four colleges and nine departments.

Health sciences major Emily Sierra has experienced financial strain due to the cost of course materials nearly every semester of her college career. But this semester, she was able to afford all her textbooks and supplies because her physics materials were free. “Both of my parents lost their jobs at some point this semester because of COVID-19. So, having my homework, textbook, quizzes [and] practice problems given to me really was monumental for not just me but also my family.”

And the positive impact extends beyond her budget. “To have a professor who cared enough to put in the hours of work to make the supplies free, especially in the midst of the scariest and most uncertain times our generation has faced in history, made me feel seen as a student,” she says. “It motivated me to push that much harder when studying because I knew he did very clearly care about our success as students.”

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