Removing the excuse: Using free course materials to improve student success in general studies courses

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Faculty and students have long complained about the prohibitive costs of textbooks. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics the price of textbooks has risen more than 1000 percent since the 1970s and Public Research Interest Group found that 65 percent of students have skipped purchasing a textbook because of cost. This study uses survey and grade distribution data to examine the effectiveness of a pilot program designed to increase student accessibility to textbooks as well as improve students’ academic performance. We found statistically significant impacts on early assignments and positive increases in student attitudes towards their classes.

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