Open Nebraska initiative offers chance for students to save money on books

The University of Nebraska system says students have saved millions
Posted at 7:01 PM, Aug 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-14 20:20:27-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The month of August is when most students go back to school. While many people are reunited with their friends, the cost of supplies, especially books, can add up. One program is trying to change that.

"It's all about saving students money," said University of Nebraska-Omaha Associate Vice Chancellor Jaci Lindburg.

The Open Nebraska initiative could put some money back in students' pockets.

The initiative was developed in 2018 and allows students to pick classes that offer free or reduced digital books. No book can cost more than $40.

"It makes it easier for students to learn because they don't have the extra burden of those pricey textbooks that we use," former student, Jabin Moore, said.

Moore was one of the people that helped start the initiative and hopes that this program opens doors for students.

"I would hope that this program makes it attainable for people and it helps them to feel like school and education are accessible to them," Moore said.

When choosing classes, the University of Nebraska has a special filter for students which identifies classes that participate in the program. Lindburg says, besides lifting a barrier for students, this program has increased grades.

"Classes that use Open Nebraska, we're finding a positive trend in students earning A's and A-'s in those courses," Lindburg said. "We believe that's because they have the course materials on the first day of class when they need them to keep up with readings and things."

So far, UNO says students have saved $5 million with the program. Lindburg says faculty can work with the bookstore, library or other online platforms to help reduce costs of the books.

"That faculty member can work with our Open Nebraska support program to identify materials that are free or under $40. Then, the class would get that open Nebraska designation," she said.

Lindburg said UNO's goal for the end of this upcoming academic year is to save $6.5 million.

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