Flat World Knowledge President Eric Frank Addresses Oregon Legislators on Solving Textbook Affordability

IRVINGTON, NY – February 21, 2011 – Eric Frank, president and co-founder of Flat World Knowledge, the largest publisher of free and open college textbooks for students worldwide, will testify to the Oregon House Subcommittee on Higher Education in support of a bill to create a textbook affordability task force, on February 22, at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

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If passed, the legislation (House Bill 2963) would require that the state Joint Boards of Education study ways to reduce textbook costs for Oregon college students through options such as open textbooks, which are freely available online. The findings would be presented in a report in October, 2012.  

“As enrollments soar, tuition rates increase and education budgets shrink, legislators must focus on ways to reduce student costs, especially textbook costs—a huge financial burden for students,” said Frank. “Open textbook initiatives are one of the best ways that industry, non-profits and policy-makers can collaborate to help students gain access to the education they need to realize their potential, and succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy.”

The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that textbooks and supplies make up 72 percent of tuition and fees for a student at a two-year public institution; and 26 percent for a student attending a four-year public college.  Compared to conventional textbooks, open textbooks can reduce student costs by 80 percent and are the best long-term solution to textbook affordability, according to a report, A Cover to Cover Solution, by the StudentPIRGs (Public Interest Research Group).

Flat World is a commercial pioneer within the growing open content movement to use technology to make educational materials freely available online and accessible to everyone. Under its open textbook model, students can read peer-reviewed and professionally-developed textbooks in their entirety online for free, or buy affordable print books, e-books for devices like the iPad and Kindle, audio books, PDF downloads and interactive study aids.  Professors are free to reorder and edit content, and add new material and interactive media.

Promoting instructor-created open textbooks and statewide textbook licenses are among the other cost-saving strategies suggested in House Bill 2963. Last year, Flat World launched a site licensing model that offers institutions a cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable way to deliver textbooks to students in a variety of digital formats, along with print options. Virginia State University reports improved retention rates and significant cost savings for students after one semester, following its licensing agreement with Flat World.

Flat World open textbooks are being used by faculty at the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Concordia University, Eastern Oregon University, Southern Oregon University and Western Oregon University, as well as at more than 900 institutions in 44 countries.

Core Facts

  1. Eric Frank, president and co-founder of Flat World Knowledge, will testify to the Oregon House Subcommittee on Higher Education in support of a bill to create a textbook affordability task force, on February 22, at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

  2. House Bill 2963 would require that the state Joint Boards of Education study ways to reduce textbook costs for Oregon college students through options such as open textbooks, which are freely available online. The findings would be presented in a report in October, 2012.

  3. Flat World is a commercial pioneer within the growing open content movement to make educational materials freely available online and accessible to everyone. Under its open textbook model, students can read peer-reviewed and professionally-developed textbooks in their entirety online for free, or buy affordable print books, e-books for devices like the iPad and Kindle, audio books, PDF downloads and interactive study aids. Faculty are free to reorder and edit content, and add new material and interactive media.

  4. Faculty at the University of Oregon, Portland State University, Concordia University, Eastern Oregon University, Southern Oregon University and Western Oregon University have used Flat World open textbooks, as well as educators at more than 900 institutions in 44 countries.

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Quotes

“As enrollments soar, tuition rates increase and education budgets shrink, legislators must focus on ways to reduce student costs, especially textbook costs—a huge financial burden for students. Open textbook initiatives are one of the best ways that industry, non-profits and policy-makers can collaborate to help students gain access to the education they need to realize their potential, and succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy.”

Eric Frank, president and co-founder of Flat World Knowledge

Company information

Flat World Knowledge is the largest publisher of free and open college textbooks for students worldwide. Committed to making higher education more affordable and accessible, the company provides students with free online access to complete, peer-reviewed textbooks, with options to purchase affordable print and digital formats, including e-books, audio books, PDF downloads and interactive study aids. Flat World’s open license and online editing platform enable professors to modify the content and create the “perfect book” for their course. To date, more than 1,600 professors at over 900 colleges in 44 countries have used Flat World open textbooks. To learn more, visit www.flatworldknowledge.com; follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/flatworldknowledge; and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/flat_world.

21st February 2011

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Carole Walters

Director of Communications

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