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NECC Partners with OpenStax to Promote Free Textbooks

Submitted by on July 7, 2016 – 6:48 pm

oer newsroomNorthern Essex Community College is one of 11 colleges and universities chosen to participate in a strategic partnership with OpenStax, a nonprofit that offers free open resources to students, to encourage the use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks on campus.

NECC was chosen to participate in the strategic partnership program after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating a willingness to drive adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) on their campuses. Strategic partners will receive individualized consulting and support from OpenStax to implement widespread use of OER at their school.

“Our work with OpenStax is part of a broader OER initiative aimed at improving affordability, quality, and accessibility of course materials for our students. It fits within NECC’s strategic goal of creating an Integrated Student Experience that provides curricular structure, consistent and carefully coordinated support, and a sense of belonging among all our students so they can pursue their life goals through a college education,” said Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Bill Heineman.

According to the College Board, students should budget between $1,200 and $1,400 per year for textbooks and supplies. This additional cost not only impacts students’ ability to attend college, but also their ability to continue and complete coursework. For example, a report by the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) found that 48 percent of students surveyed said textbook costs impacted how many or which classes they took each semester.

Open educational resources, including the free, peer-reviewed textbooks offered by OpenStax, eliminate cost barriers for students and allow every student immediate access to learning materials. OpenStax texts also meet standard scope and sequence requirements and are peer-reviewed by educators to ensure accuracy and ease of use.

Northern Essex is committed to student success by reducing barriers such as high textbook costs for students while still protecting academic freedom and ensuring quality instruction. One of the many reasons why Northern Essex partnered with OpenStax was the ease of use and implementation. OpenStax textbooks are comparable to textbooks that cost $200 or more and are available for free online and in PDF, and are available at very low cost in print.

For more information on Northern Essex’s OER initiative, please contact Sue Tashjian and Jody Carson, the co-chairs of the college’s Textbook Task Force at

OpenStax is committed to improving access to quality learning materials. An initiative of Rice University and supported by philanthropic foundations, OpenStax provides free textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure readability, accuracy and adherence to scope and sequence requirements of most introductory college courses. For more information visit OpenStax or contact Jody Carson at or Sue Tashjian at or