Grant funding encourages schools to use open-source technology instead of pricey textbooks to help Arizona families save money
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Arizona State University to promote open educational resources (OER) that reduce textbook costs for Arizona students and their families. Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured $5 million in OER grant funding in last year’s budget agreement.
Sinema also reintroduced the Affordable College Textbook Act—legislation that formally authorizes the grant program. According to the College Board, students at four-year public colleges spend on average more than $1,200 on textbooks and course materials each year.
“Steep textbook costs should never hold an Arizonan back from an education. Our bill increases access to course materials so all students can receive a quality education,” said Sinema.
“At ASU we are using digital technology to improve the quality of how we teach across the board, taking the principles we call ‘active learning’ and bringing them into the online world,” said Dr. Ariel Anbar, ASU Professor. “This new award lets us expand that approach to Open Education Resources of value to community college degree pathways. So we won’t just save thousands of students millions of dollars, but also improve those students’ learning in high-demand career areas. Doing this helps us meet ASU’s mission of universal learning: reaching as many students as we can, from all backgrounds, and at all stages of life and work.”
Over the next three years, the grant will support the expansion of open textbooks and other widely-available course materials, cutting college costs without compromising quality.
Sinema relied on loans and scholarships to afford college and is committed to ensuring current and future generations have quality educational opportunities. While serving in the U.S. House, Sinema worked across party lines to restore year-round Pell Grant eligibility, so that Arizona students have more flexibility in using a Pell award. She also voted for bipartisan budgets that delivered increases in Pell Grant funding.
Recently, Sinema introduced the Employer Participation in Repayment Act, a bipartisan plan encouraging employers to offer student loan repayment benefits for their employees. Sinema championed the Affordable College Textbook Act during the 115th Congress. In the Senate, she continues to work with members of both parties to find reasonable solutions that address rising college costs and expand economic opportunity for Arizona students and families.