Initiatives Underway For Low-Cost, Free Textbooks For California College Students

As they start a new school year, college students usually come to campus knowing their tuition and room and board costs. The big unknown is the often-hefty cost of textbooks.

Many students don’t know what textbooks they’ll need and how much the books will cost until they’ve enrolled in courses and checked their professors’ syllabi.

But universities across California, especially in the 23-campus California State University system, have become more transparent about textbooks and more proactive in assigning free, digital or low-cost books to students. And some institutions, such as the University of California at Davis, are working to revolutionize the textbook market and make it more affordable for all students.

California State University’s Affordable Learning Solutions’ initiative, which began in 2010, integrates library resources, digital books, low-cost publisher materials and open educational resources in college courses.

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