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Affordable textbook program saves Palomar students total of $2.4 million

Story by Ideth Sanchez 

Students at Palomar have saved around $2.4 million on textbook costs with Comet’s Affordable Learning Materials (CALM) program which was designed to reduce the price of textbooks.

Palomar College was awarded a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Planning grant by the Chancellor’s office for California Community Colleges in 2016. 

The CALM (Comet’s Affordable Learning Materials) program was implemented last year to assist students in decreasing textbook costs. Student in the photo: Jason Hernandez. Elvin Diego/The Telescope

The CALM program introduces low cost or zero cost textbooks that can be used by professors in their courses.

As stated on their flyer, the grant’s sole purpose is, “to reduce textbook costs in order to reduce the financial barriers to student success.”

With CALM implemented at Palomar, most course-required texts are now more affordable. A majority of courses now require a Low-Textbook Cost (LTC) or a Zero-Textbook Cost, many of which can be $40 or less.

For many students, high textbook costs pose an issue on the affordability of their education. According to the College Board, for the 2017-18 academic year, the average student spent over $1,200 for textbooks and course supplies.

Palomar student, Ana Resendiz, a Digital Imaging major took three classes last semester.

“I spent about $150 for two textbooks,” she said, “luckily I didn’t need to buy one for one class,” Resendiz said.

Due to high textbook costs, many students often try to continue their courses without purchasing textbooks.

CALM also provides Open Educational Resources (OER), which allow students to access educational resources such as curriculum maps, textbooks, podcasts and videos. 

These have been made available for student use under open licenses.

CALM co-chairs Sara Krause and Anastasia Zavodny said “using Open Educational Resources has had immense benefits to our faculty in terms of the ability to participate in the sharing culture that has been created through OER.”

A news release from Palomar’s Public Affairs Office claimed that Palomar is one out of nine colleges that has partnered with Open Stax. working to further “the college’s efforts to provide free to low-cost, peer-reviewed digital textbooks and course resources through open educational resources.”

President/Superintendent Joi Lin Blake expressed her excitement for the program in the news release.

“We are excited to be chosen to participate in the OpenStax Partnership,” Blake said, “through the OpenStax Partnership, Palomar College will continue to be a leader in providing affordable and accessible, quality education for all students within the region.”

Image Sources

  • 46450226434_9bdcea691f_o: Palomar Telescope | All Rights Reserved
  • 46450226544_8015bc5a9b_o: Palomar Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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