More than 20 million students are currently enrolled in a four-year degree program, and 7 in 10 students will graduate with not just a degree, but with student loan debt, too.
Digital tools can bring about new and positive change when it comes to higher-ed affordability, said Michael Hansen, chief executive officer of Cengage Learning, in a post on LinkedIn.
When 38 percent of students say they earned a poor grade and 20 percent say they failed a course, all due to inability to afford the course materials, the focus should turn to education access and how funding restricts that access for many students, Hansen wrote.
The average college expenses for a public four-year school include room and board (42 percent), tuition and fees (39 percent), books and supplies (5 percent), transportation (5 percent), and other expenses (9 percent).
But students can sidestep some of the more burdensome expenses if they opt for digital courseware instead of going exclusively on campus. Students who take courses that engage digitally and in person can achieve content mastery twice as fast, according to Gates Foundation data cited in Cengage research.
Digital can offer more value, including:
- Open educational resources (OER)–OER has the potential to triple in use as primary courseware over the next 5 years.
- Inclusive digital access programs–Students can save up to 50 percent on courseware and up to 70 percent on eTexts through Inclusive Access programs.
- Digital courseware–52 percent of students saved money by using digital materials in the 2016-2017 academic year, and digital costs as much as 60 percent less than traditional print materials.
- Rental–43 percent of students rented at least one course material (print or digital) in the fall of 2016, compared to 40 percent in fall 2015, and students can save on average between 50 percent and 90 percent through textbook rental.
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