OROVILLE, Calif. - Butte College has saved its students more than $1 million in textbook costs in the past three years.
The school helped students save almost $450,000 this semester with its Zero Textbook Cost Program.
"As usual California is ahead of the curve to doing great things for our students," said Suzanne Wakim, the open educational resource coordinator for the college.
Zero Textbook Cost Program helps faculty find textbooks for students to use for free online.
The program began in 2015 with a grant from the state and Wakim brought this program to their campus.
"The cost of textbooks is a real barrier and I really want to find some ways to help students overcome that barrier," Wakim said.
College officials conducted surveys on how the costs of textbooks affect students.
"About a third of students won't take as many classes 'cause they can't afford textbooks and so that really limits their choices," Wakim said. "About 40 percent say they've tried a class without buying the textbook because they can't afford it and about half of those students fail."
The textbooks are free online, but if students prefer printed versions they can print them at the bookstore for a reasonable price.
"I'd say the electronic books are a little bit better because they highlight what is needed they have like special exams at the end where you can test what you've learned and they make you stop and actually review what you've learned," said Celeste Castillo, a student at Butte College.
School officials are working towards ways that students with earlier registration times, aren't just the ones getting into the classes with the free textbooks because right now it's first come, first serve.
"When you're signing up for classes it definitely has a symbol to say if it needs a textbook or if the textbook is free online, so I would advise students to pay more attention to that because that's how I found out that textbooks are free," Castillo said.
The grant Butte College received from the state to help start its program will soon go away.
So, it'll be up to the college to figure out how they want to sustain the program.