Library Open Education Textbook Affordability Project 2024-2025

Textbook Affordability Project 2024-2025


Students in higher education face many cost-of-living pressures and financial challenges. The 2023 Australian Universities Accord Interim Report revealed that student finances and study costs are preventing a significant number of Australians from commencing or continuing with their studies. These findings provide context for a 2022 NCSEHE study that found “students make strategic choices about when and what [textbooks] to buy and borrow”. Not purchasing or having access to prescribed textbooks has implications for student success and retention. For this reason, a growing number of Australian universities are working to alleviate student textbook costs.

Making a difference at JCU

A JCU strategic priority is transformative education, with an aim of widening participation in higher education for regional, remote, Indigenous, first-in-family and international students. Financial pressures are a key challenge for these students. While many student costs are beyond the control of JCU staff, prescribed textbook costs could be reduced by employing a range of strategies.

JCU Library 2023 textbook cost estimates show that 72 first-year core subjects had prescribed textbooks that cost students an average of $119 each. This means that first-year students could have paid approximately $2,194,238 for their prescribed textbooks for core subjects.

To address this issue, JCU Library has launched a Textbook Affordability Project (2024-2025) where Library staff invite collaboration with first-year core subject stakeholders to investigate if free-for-students alternatives can be identified. Options include:

Connect with JCU Library to participate or share a JCU story relevant to this transformative project.

How to identify zero cost to students flexibly-licenced textbooks

Want to identify free-to-students prescribed textbook replacements yourself?