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For Students

What is OER?

Open educational resources (OER) are openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes - without cost or access barriers.

Why use OER?

The cost of textbooks has risen 73% since 2006, four times the rise of inflation. Textbooks are becoming more and more expensive, making it difficult for students to be able to pay for school. When implemented in the classroom in place of traditional textbooks, OER can save students hundreds of dollars each semester! This report by Student Public Interest Research Groups discusses the rapid rise of textbook prices and its effects on students across the country.

The open licensing on OER means that students are free to use the materials as they see fit (and as licensing allows), whether that be to keep, print, share with friends, or even make and share study materials of your own. OER are available on the first day of class and can be kept after class ends.

How Can OER Help USU Students?

  • In a study conducted by Utah State University, 74% of USU students said they pay for textbooks with their own money, with the average cost per semester for all textbooks that semester ranging from $200-$600.

  • 85% of USU students reported that they have delayed purchasing a textbook for a class. Of those that delayed purchasing textbooks, 58% said their grade was negatively impacted due to the delay.

OER is already starting to spread across campus. Some professors have partially switched over to OER, while others have replaced their traditional textbooks entirely. USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library has an OER team dedicated to increasing awareness about OER and helping professors find and adopt OER into their courses.

What Can You Do?


Take a class that uses OER. A list of classes currently using OER can be found on the OER@USU page.

Join or form a student body organization to advocate for textbook affordability solutions.

Ask professors if they know about or would be willing to use Open Educational Resources.

Provide suggestions. If you have an idea about how to increase OER use at USU, let us know!

Need help searching for OER? Have suggestions? Contact the OER Support Team!