The Michelson 20MM Foundation and OpenStax are using free textbooks to transform education

The free college movement has gained steam across the United States in recent years. But one major barrier to equitable education is often overlooked: the astronomical cost of college textbooks. From the 1970s until the mid-2010s, textbook prices increased at three times the rate of inflation. Each year, students without the means to afford these pricey hardcovers are forced to drop out of school or avoid college altogether.

That’s all changing thanks to the open educational resources (OER) movement and organizations like the Michelson 20MM Foundation. The private nonprofit is one of the founding funders of OpenStax, which is now the world’s leading OER textbook provider. By providing open license, freely downloadable textbooks, Michelson 20MM and OpenStax have saved students more than $1 billion. Over 60% of colleges and universities are using textbooks from the OpenStax catalogue.

The Michelson Center for Public Policy has also been instrumental in the passage of ZTC (Zero-Textbook-Cost) legislation in California. The $115 million investment in the expansion of Zero Textbook Cost degrees and open educational resources at the state’s community colleges has already benefited more than 23,000 students.

Learn more about Michelson 20MM’s work in the field of open educational resources, the latest research on automatic textbook billing, and the expansion of zero-textbook cost degrees in the video above.