1 Financial Challenges of Higher Education

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the financial challenges of higher education & the impact on students

Many students struggle to make ends meet. A national survey conducted in 2020 revealed that first-generation college students, like UTSA Roadrunners, are more likely than continuing generation students to face financial difficulties during the pandemic, including lost wages from family members, lost wages from employment, and increased living and technology expenses.

Photo of Jose Escobedo UTSA Student Body President 2021

“Well, I’m one of those students that relies on scholarships and grants to go to school. I can’t afford to take out a loan to pay back. So, for me, someone that really has to pinch pennies here..it’s big. It makes a big difference. And sometimes the difference between $60 and a free textbook..that can really make or break you.” -Jose Escobedo, 2021 UTSA Student Body President President

Cost of Higher Education

OER Reduce Costs & Remove Barriers

OER are free textbooks that are in the public domain or Creative Commons licensed for free reuse, modification, and sharing.” OpenStax and Open Textbook Library are examples. OER better support UTSA students because they are: free, available on Class Day One, and continuously accessible.

Photo of Jonathan Brucks, Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator in the Math Matters Program
-Jonathan Brucks, Course Coordinator & Senior Instructor for Math Matters

“In just one semester, Math Matters students saved half a million dollars. “We wanted the textbook to be a real resource for our students, but we still wanted to have our independence to do what we knew was right for our students, and our population and our courses. And that’s why OER was a no-brainer for us.” – Jonathan Brucks, Course Coordinator & Senior Instructor for Math Matters

Key Takeaways

Additional Readings


Media Attributions

  • Jose Escobedo
  • Jonathan Brucks


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OER Toolkit Copyright © 2023 by DeeAnn Ivie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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