All In For K-State fundraising campaign will raise money for alternative textbooks

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A student picks up a textbook required for class. The All In for K-State fundraising campaign will target hidden fees via the textbook initiative. (File photo by Bailey Nobrega | Collegian Media Group)

This year’s All In For K-State campaign will focus on Textbook 2.0, previously referred to as the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative.

The campaign is a fundraising project put on annually by the Kansas State University Foundation. The day of giving will take place on March 25.

“All it comes down to is raising money for stipends for instructors and professors to literally write their own textbook,” Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering, said.

Eric Holderness, associate vice president of development at the KSU Foundation, said the project is about reducing the cost of courses. Currently, he said, there are already 95 classes offered at K-State making use of the initiative.

Holderness said the average student will pay about $1,000 a year on textbooks. Under the Textbook 2.0 initiative, students pay a $10 course fee for each course that has an open access or alternative textbook through the program.

“So, for example, a chemistry book that might have cost $300 will now cost only $10 when they enroll,” Holderness said.

In addition to saving money for students, Holderness said the initiative offers an incentive to faculty to participate in the program.

“It grants faculty stipend for professors most interested in converting their classrooms into open educational resource classrooms, eliminating the need for textbooks,” Holderness said. “The learning outcomes in these classes are actually higher, the dropout rate is lower. … So really, what we’re trying to do is throw more money at this program so it can help more and more students.”

The method behind choosing what to fund with All In For K-State, Penny said, is asking what is fundable.

“There are a lot of great programs happening on campus that should be moving forward, that should be going, but not all of them really are right for All In For K-State, he said. “It was very important for us to discuss what is fundable and then that [return on investment] component as well.”

The return on investment for students who take advantage of the program is long-term, Penny said.

“After a student has been going to school here for four or five or six years, even if they’ve taken three or four classes that that have that open educational resource, instead of buying a $200 textbook, it can save them hundreds [of dollars],” he said.

Penny said he sees the cost of textbooks as a large hidden fee associated with higher education.

“A student can be fully prepared knowing their scholarship amount or knowing how much they personally can work and make during semester or how much their family is able to put in,” he said. “But they don’t always know, this semester if, ‘Am I going to be paying for $60 in textbooks, or am I going to be paying $800 in textbooks?’ and that right there can make a huge impact on a student staying semester after semester.”

Cost and affordability is the one issue that affects every single student, he said.

“It doesn’t matter about race, sexual identity, sexual orientation, if you’re in-state, out-of-state, if you’re international. Cost and affordability affects every single student here,” Penny said. “And with that, whether you’re getting scholarships or not, that is the number one factor that will either draw people to K-State or make people leave K-State.”

Holderness said the campaign is in no way targeting students for donations, and that a large part of it is simply spreading awareness of the open and alternative options for educational materials.

“We’d really like to spread the good word on campus that they’re available,” he said.

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I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.