Campus Life

Texas A&M Expanding Initiative Aimed At Curbing Textbook Costs

The University Libraries-led OpenEd program saved students an estimated $1.2 million during the 2023-2024 school year.
By Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications May 15, 2024

A photo of a hand pulling a tablet off of a shelf in a library.
Texas A&M University’s established course affordability efforts are credited with saving students an estimated $1.2 million this academic year by using Libraries-purchased materials as replacements for traditional textbooks.

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Efforts aimed at saving Texas A&M University students money on the increasing cost of textbooks are set to expand.

The university’s established course affordability efforts are credited with saving students an estimated $1.2 million this academic year by using Libraries-purchased materials as replacements for traditional textbooks. 

Texas A&M University Libraries recently hired Jennifer Pate to build on that success to create an even greater impact through OpenEd, a program launched at the start of 2023-2024 school year using funds from the Office of the Provost. 

“I’m thrilled to join a library system and a university focused on student success,” said Pate, who has considerable experience with open educational materials, most recently spearheading efforts at the University of Northern Alabama. “The cost of textbooks and course materials has increased steadily at universities worldwide. OpenEd addresses the issue head-on by embracing and advocating for the use of open educational resources.”

A portrait of Jennifer Pate.
Texas A&M University Libraries has hired Jennifer Pate to lead OpenEd, a program aimed at saving students money on the increasing cost of textbooks and course materials.

Texas A&M University Libraries

The course material affordability unit, housed in the Libraries:

  • identifies low- to no-cost course materials;
  • supports faculty who adopt, adapt and create open educational resources (OERs);
  • increases awareness of program funding opportunities; 
  • and assesses the program’s impact on student success

As OpenEd grows under Pate’s leadership, savings are expected to increase exponentially, with new program-focused librarians and technical staff.  

“OpenEd will help keep course materials affordable for current and future Aggies,” said Dr. Alan Sams, provost and executive vice president. “That is our objective, and that is a top priority for our libraries.”

Working alongside expert librarians, faculty, academic support professionals and campus partners,  OpenEd is charged with expanding the OER movement on the Texas A&M campus and making Aggieland a national leader in the course affordability movement.  

“Our existing, longstanding offerings for course reserves, open educational resources and open access materials have helped to make courses more affordable,” said Julie Mosbo Ballestro, university librarian and assistant provost. “OpenEd will consolidate those resources with enhanced, university-level focus and additional resources. I’m excited about the creation of positions dedicated to a program that will cut costs for students.” 

Savings generated through OER efforts will vary depending on majors, but with more than 70% of Texas A&M students receiving some kind of financial aid, even modest cost reductions can help.

“With the ever-increasing costs of housing, transportation and food on top of tuition, it’s no secret that budgeting for four years of college is difficult,” said Ben Fisher ’24. “The university’s efforts to reduce our educational expenses mean a lot to us and can help ease the competing pressures between focusing on our studies or striving to make ends meet to pay bills.”

After three years, the Libraries hope to expand OpenEd for students throughout the Texas A&M University System.

“University Libraries continue to innovate and find new ways to serve students, faculty and staff,” Mosbo Ballestro said. “OpenEd is a game changer that will keep courses affordable for all Aggies. That’s something all of us care about deeply.”

Media contact: Matthew Kennedy,

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