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The Hewlett Foundation Blog




Cal State University System Tackles Escalating Textbook Costs 

August 22, 2014 — By Heath Wickline

Nice article from Josh Dulaney, writing for the Long Beach Press Telegram, on efforts underway in the California State University system to address the rising costs of textbooks, including those of MERLOT, a grantee of our Education Program:

Twenty campuses in the CSU system run their own Affordable Learning Solutions programs.

“For most classes, students do have to purchase a textbook one way or another,” said Naomi Moy, who heads the initiative at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson. “Sometimes those textbooks are $200 or more. Most students can’t afford that when they have four or five classes.”

More than 200 of the 750 faculty members at CSUDH chose to use no-cost or low-cost alternatives to textbooks in 2012-13, according to CSU officials. At Cal Poly Pomona more than 140 chose no-cost or low-cost alternatives to textbooks.

“Those faculty have an alternative to the print textbook that would either be available in the library or a resource that is an Internet-based resource that may not be the traditional books,” Moy said.

The CSU provides more than 45,000 free instructional materials through MERLOT — Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching — which is accessed by more than 500 universities and colleges.

Carla Rivera covered similar ground for the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.