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Easing Student Expenses One Textbook at a Time

Virginia Commonwealth University Library

Concerned about the high cost of text books for their students, some professors have begun creating their own free or low cost materials, and their universities are making it worth their while. 

Today’s college student can expect to spend $1,200-$1,300 a year on textbooks, but a number of Virginia schools hope to ease the pain.  They’re paying professors to create something new.

“Whether it’s adopting existing material that’s out there that’s free or low cost for students to use or creating their own.”

Jimmy Ghaphery is with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Library as is Hillary Miller. She says the school will provide a total of $20,000 in grants to faculty members for the time they take to create materials and for the assistance they might need.

“They might want to hire someone to do copy editing work or design work, web design, whatever supplementary things that may be outside their disciplinary expertise.”

And Ghaphery says others at VCU are pitching in. 

“The awardees will have access to both librarians and instructional designers to help move their projects forward.”

Other schools offering incentives for new teaching materials include Virginia Tech, William and Mary, George Mason, Old Dominion and a number of community colleges that have led the way in creating more affordable resources for students.  

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief
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