ACC expands no-cost textbook options for students through new national partnership

ACC students have saved more than $3.5 million through open educational resources over the past year 

Austin Community College (ACC) is one of ten colleges and universities nationwide selected to participate in the 2019-2020 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program to expand the use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks known as open educational resources (OER). 

“Sometimes even the cost of one textbook can stop a student from pursuing their education,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “This partnership allows ACC to continue to remove financial  barriers and increase the likelihood that students will stay on track and complete their degree.”

OERs are used in course and degree options at ACC known as Z-degrees and zero textbook cost (ZTC) classes. Since its launch in 2017, ACC students have saved more than $3.5 million in textbook costs. Enrollment is up to almost 4,800 sections to date. 

“We are continuing to look at options for course and section offerings and will expand them in an intentional and strategic way,” says Ursula Pike, Instructional Initiatives Coordinator. “Providing these textbooks give students the material on the first day of class, allowing them to engage with the subject from the start.”

ACC was selected as a partner institution with OpenStax after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating a willingness to drive adoption of open educational resources. As a participating college, ACC will receive individualized consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of schools advocating widespread use of OER at their schools. Other colleges selected include:

  • College of DuPage (Illinois)

  • Fresno State (California)

  • McHenry County College (Illinois)

  • Metropolitan State University of Denver (Colorado)

  • Millersville University (Pennsylvania)

  • Muskegon Community College (Michigan)

  • NC State University (North Carolina)

  • Portland State University (Oregon)

  • Prairie View A&M University (Texas) 

On average, the institutions who join as an OpenStax partner increase the number of students impacted by OER by 158% after completing the first year of the program. To date, the program has resulted in $19.6 million dollars of additional student savings from OER.

According to the 2017 Babson Survey, open resources are growing in popularity – almost 50% of faculty reported that they are aware of OER, and OpenStax textbooks are being adopted in introductory courses at rates that rival traditional books. 

For more information about Z-degree programs and courses at ACC, visit



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