UW-Stout receives "Open Textbook" grant

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Buying textbooks is one way a college student's budget can be busted each semester.

The average undergraduate college student in the United States spends more than $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies.

Students at UW-Stout have it a lot easier – cutting that average cost down by roughly 85 percent.

This success has allowed Stout to receive a $14,200 grant from the UW System for an open textbook pilot program.

Officials with the University of Minnesota conducted a workshop at Stout on Thursday to help faculty there learn about and identify open textbooks, which are made available online for free or in print at a low cost.

The practice of students renting books rather than buying books has been a common practice at Stout for roughly 120 years.

"Schools are catching on, but it's not easy to do, too, if you don't have the textbooks in your library or in some department,” Bob Butterfield, Director of Instructional Resources said to WEAU 13 News on Thursday. “Then, you have the cost of purchasing all of those textbooks so that you can use them for your students. We've been able to do that incrementally over the years. So, we've been able to step up over many schools."

The low book costs have made being at Stout a bit easier for junior Sara Mueller since transferring from UW-Baraboo.

"The textbook rental program is a good way to go,” she said. “Then, you don't have all these extra books that you don't need just laying around. When you go and resell them, you don't get nearly anything. I think i tried to resell mine for, like, $2 a book through the company that I bought it through."

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