Public Affairs

CSU, Major Publishers Significantly Reduce Students' Book Costs

Digital licensing pilot program allows 4,000 students to save
65 percent off retail book price

(August 31, 2010) – Students at five California State University campuses will have the opportunity to take one of the more than 32 courses that will not require any printed textbooks. The 4,000 students in those courses will instead purchase licenses at a discount of 65 percent off the publishers' recommended textbook list price – potentially saving students hundreds of dollars. Under the licensing model, the same content available in printed texts will be delivered digitally for the length of the academic term.

"The digital licensing program is the result of the CSU looking at how we deliver education, and identifying ways we can be innovative in creating a better learning environment at a lower cost," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed

The students in the pilot courses at Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Bernardino and San Francisco will still attend courses in the traditional classroom setting. The only difference will be in the textbook itself. In these pilot courses, students will have the ability to view the content on their computers, laptops, iPads, iPhones, or other devices. Students may take notes in the digital "margins," highlight and bookmark for faster searches. Students may also print ten pages at a time.

"Students often pay more than $800 per year on textbooks. In a system with fees as low as the CSU, this represents a significant portion of a students' educational costs," said Gerry Hanley, senior director of CSU Academic Technology Services and executive director of the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching. "Faculty and students are constantly asking if there is a better way. Now there is."

The pilot program is expected to expand to more courses and campuses in spring 2011. This is made possible by a CSU initiative, the Digital Marketplace, in partnership with five of the largest academic publishers (Bedford, Freeman, Worth; Cengage Learning; McGraw-Hill; Pearson; and John Wiley and Sons).

Through the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions campaign, the university system continues to look for other low cost and no cost educational resources for professors and students. In fact, the CSU announced, in August, a partnership with SoftChalk to allow faculty to author their own digital content. Ultimately, the goal is to provide faculty with as many choices as possible when preparing affordable, accessible content for the classroom.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 433,000 students year round and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. A recent economic report found that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide, annually. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending that generates $5.43 for every dollar the state invests. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.

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