College Affordability ā€“ Education

This post brought to you by Flat World Knowledge. All opinions are 100% mine.

It is no secret that college is expensive. You have your tuition – which is through the roof.  On top of that you have lab fees and all sorts of other fees and then of course there are the textbooks!  I have had classes which required 4 or more textbooks and in some cases – we never even got around to using them in class!  Sure, the bookstore would allow you to “sell back” your books, but for a huge discount compared to what you paid for them – and then they would put them back on the shelf and make money off of them again! (Assuming that the professors did not choose to use the newest edition in the next semester!)
Fortunately, I won a full college tuition scholarship to my #1 choice school when I was a senior in high school.  While this saved me a TON of money, I still spent a small fortune on textbooks.  As I mentioned above, I had a few classes that required 4+ textbooks.  I also had a lot of classes with HUGE textbooks.  I think my Physics book cost more than I made in a month at my part time retail job and it may well have weighed more than I did.
I wish that Flat World Knowledge was around when I was in college that my college utilized it.  Iā€™d have had a lot of money left each semester to eat something other than easy mac every day!  And maybe even some extra money for concert tickets!
With the current economy, having a degree is important in finding a job.  But tuition and other fees are on the rise, making it difficult to obtain that degree.  Many have opted to go to a community college.  But no matter where you go – textbooks are an integral part to your education.
According to The College Board, in the past year students spent an average of $1,137 on textbooks and supplies.
The Department of Education has found that textbooks costs almost as much as tuition and fees (72%) for those students enrolled in a community college.  42% of college costs goes to textbooks for these students.
Textbooks are rising at 4x the rate of inflation (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
According to Gates Foundation Study, the rise in cost of textbooks is having an impact on students abilities to do their class work.  60% of students who did not end up graduating have stated that the cost of textbooks and other fees aside from tuition played in to why they did not graduate.
Flat World Knowledge iis going above and beyond to try and reduce the cost of textbooks by using an open license in 2 critical ways:
  Enabling faculty to change the textbook from a book to a platform
  Enabling the students to consume content that suits their learning style
Since Spring 2009 Flat World Knowledge‘s books have been used by 1600+ professors in 900+ schools.  That’s over 115,000 students.  Flat World Knowledge has raised 27 million dollars plus over the last 2 years to build a model and help build open content.  Several early studies done by colleges who have started using Flat World’s open textbooks have reported significant increases in the course completion rates, 10-15% higher, when open textbooks were used versus traditional text books.
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