Why doesn't the college use HEERF funds to just buy textbooks for students?
It's true that the college is using COVID relief funds (HEERF) to provide the financial incentive to faculty to adopt/create Open Educational Resources (OER) and make their courses Zero Textbook Costs (ZTC). These funds could have been utilized to purchase textbooks for all students in the fall 2022 and at least one California community college district is using the funds in this way. Other colleges have moved to an Inclusive Access Model of textbook distribution, which is marketed as a solution, but continues to pass the high-cost of learning materials onto the student.
If HEERF funds were used at CRC to purchase all textbooks, this would be a one-time solution to a problem that has impacted students for years and will continue to impact students until sustainable solutions can be found.
The college believes that creating ZTC courses using OER, freely available material, and library-owned resources is the best way to achieve sustainable long-term solutions to the problems caused by the high cost of commercial textbooks and problems related to the way textbook information is communicated to students.
The research office has heard from students in recent years about the high cost of textbooks. Watch this short video to hear what students have to say about textbook costs: Textbook Costs Impact Students.
As an aside, the college will consider using funds to purchase commercial books in certain situations. Read details in the FAQ: What if my class uses a resource that isn't freely available or there is no OER option like a novel?