Dr. Keith Currie

Textbooks are too expensive. Remember that you were surprised at the book highs you needed when you were in college? I’m sick of textbook publishers who use college students. We apologize for issuing this official statement, but apologize to our students, especially black students, for not doing any more to make the books and materials more affordable. Now is the time to work on expensive textbooks to make higher education affordable and accessible. As President and Chief Executive Officer of Compton College, I personally address this issue. Finding and implementing a solution that ensures that all students who want to go on to college can go on is an important part of my job. Higher education is not affordable for many people, especially black students, as college entrance fees have steadily increased in recent years. You can see the struggle of this student group in the data. Students at Compton College Black outperform students at other community colleges by up to 15% in housing and food insecurity. And the serious impact of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County has created further challenges.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic claimed many lives, students struggled to pay tuition in addition to books, computer / technology, and living expenses. In this final article in my “Fighting Non-Apologically for the Success of Black Students” series, they remove the real cost of attending college and the barriers that prevent students from achieving their goals. Learn how we are working to reduce costs.

Total cost to attend college
Education should not be considered a privilege. That’s right. I know many current students who are willing to invest in themselves and pursue their education, but the price keeps it out of reach. In addition to tuition (costs, books, computers, consumables), students are responsible for other costs such as transportation, food and housing. Many students have to make difficult choices every day and sometimes skip meals to pay for their education. Later, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a lack of accessible educational resources, leaving students who were not ready for online classes struggling alone at home. Compton College is actively addressing these obstacles through several initiatives, including a university-wide laptop loan program and the delivery of meals to students’ homes.

We also support students through the Compton College Oliver W. Connor Promise Program. The program provides qualified high school graduates with a two-year registration fee exemption and access to a support system from the registration process to graduation. Many students in this important program have taken bold steps to change their lives while building a strong and lasting college education culture for their families and communities to enter college for the first time in their families.

Soaring textbooks
The Compton College Oliver W. Conner Promise Program offers up to $ 400 per year for textbooks, course materials, and consumables. This is an important part of the program, as the cost of textbooks is exorbitant and the financial obligation to attend college increases. For some students, this prevents them from attending the class. These costs are particularly impactful for low-income and undervalued minority groups, including black students. It makes sense that textbook cost savings can support the goal of fairness, but how is that done? We are honored to partner with the Michelson 20MM Foundation to resolve this issue. Founded by Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Aria Michelson, the Michelson 20MM Foundation is a leader in ensuring fair university opportunities that lead to meaningful careers in line with Compton College’s mission. Over the last decade, Michelson 20MM has been a way to dramatically improve access and fairness in higher education by providing materials freely and legally through open licenses for instructors and students to use, adapt and share. , Advocated the adoption of Open Education Resources (OER), and reuse. As a result, education costs can be reduced, which can be a barrier to entry, especially for colored students. According to a survey by Achieveing ​​the Dream, 17% of undervalued minority students said they had to quit the course due to the cost of teaching materials. According to a survey, 52% of undervalued minorities say that OER courses have a significant impact on their ability to go on to college. Digital access to books and other resources can be a true game changer, and additional research has shown improved performance.

In 2010, Michelson 20MM seeded OpenStax, the largest non-profit open educational resource publisher. This year alone, more than 4 million students across US higher education institutions benefit from using OpenStax, a library that has grown to include 42 textbooks and has generated savings of over $ 1.2 billion. Will receive. Community colleges in California benefit from great faculty who have taken the lead in revising the curriculum and replacing expensive textbooks with free resources. For every $ 1 invested in OpenStax, we’ve saved over $ 14 for students.

Phil Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Michaelson 20MM, said: “According to a survey, OER has significantly improved at the end of the course for students, especially minority students who are experiencing nearly twice the performance gains of whites. In addition, the adoption of OER has led to the adoption of OER in the same population. Drops, withdrawals, or failures have been reduced in grade. OER is an effective tool for achieving fair results that all faculties and universities should use. “

Elected civil servants throughout the state recognize that the high cost of textbooks is detrimental to community college students. In a recent state budget, the Legislature has fully funded Governor Newsom’s $ 115 million proposal for a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree program. Proponents such as Compton College and the Michelson Public Policy Center praise this historic investment. The ZTC program allows students to start and end their degree program without paying for expensive textbooks or other materials. Experts believe that $ 115 million can generate an estimated 240 ZTC degrees and certificate paths across California.

In addition to reducing costs, OER can be used to highlight diverse opinions and perspectives on academic material. Teaching in an OER environment can promote culturally relevant classrooms that see differences and diversity as assets rather than deficits, so there are many ways for students to learn and understand materials based on their knowledge. You can notice that. In addition, OER can be easily adapted to incorporate stories and perspectives that are rarely found in traditional textbooks and other curriculum resources, providing equitable education and learning for all. Compton College will begin using OER and will utilize open educational resources for 85% to 100% of all courses and degree programs by the fall of 2035. Plans are underway to achieve this. These efforts are supported by generous grants from the Michelson 20MM Foundation. The Michelson20MM Foundation will also participate in Compton College as a thinking partner for this work.

Close the loop
If you don’t have to worry about financial conditions, such as textbook costs, students will get better grades in class and focus on learning. Last year, we taught a large-scale, multi-layered transition to digital learning at Compton College and established a successful online learning model that continues to provide face-to-face instruction again. Open education resources will become even more important as online education continues. We are also looking forward to seeing the potential impact of OER on double enrollment of high school students taking community college courses. Add the important task of creating a culturally sensitive education. We are on the road to providing truly relevant learning to many students who have lived their lives without seeing themselves or cultural stories in traditional textbooks.

This concludes my four-part series. Here’s how to help black students succeed, including researching data to make innovative changes, requesting graduate support, and providing expensive textbook solutions. Many topics remain, but I hope these articles have started something while continuing to fight non-apologically for the success of black students. Inspiration to think differently about getting and using useful resources, or even the motivation for meaningful and lively dialogue about what is needed to ensure the success of black students now and in the future. There is. We will find the answer by working together and providing an apology to achieve this.