CCCS Wins State Grant to Expand Open Educational Resources


OER has saved CCCS students $13 million since 2018

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) won a $130,907 grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) to design business management courses using open educational resources (OER), free or low-cost textbooks and course materials that have saved CCCS students more than $13 million since 2018. Including the award, CCCS has received more than $1.5 million in grants to create and expand OER over the last three years.

With the new award, CCCS staff will create at least 10 business courses that utilize OER, which includes modules, textbooks, videos, software, and other resources available at low or no cost. The courses will count toward a bachelor’s of applied science (BAS) in business management, a program in development that will be available to students at all 13 CCCS colleges in fall 2023.

Through this project, we hope to create our fifth Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree that eliminates textbook fees entirely. 
- Landon Pirius, CCCS Vice Chancellor
“The business management program is in high demand, and we are excited to leverage OER to deliver this pathway at a lower cost,” said Dr. Landon Pirius, CCCS Vice Chancellor. “Through this project, we hope to create our fifth Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree that eliminates textbook fees entirely. We are grateful to CDHE for their support.”

Across the system, CCCS has created hundreds of ZTC courses and four ZTC pathways in history, communication, psychology, and early childhood education. CCCS colleges have saved students more than $13 million in textbook costs over the last four years through OER, according to CCCS data.

“The Colorado Community College System has been a leader in Colorado’s OER community,” said Brittany Dudek, CCCS manager of OER and library. “We are so excited to accept this grant from CDHE, which will allow us to continue innovative projects and extend our OER cost savings to even more students across Colorado.”

OER is a key strategy to make college more affordable. The average cost of textbooks has risen more than 1,000% over the last 45 years, and an estimated 66% of students skip buying course materials at some point during their college career, according to the Education Data Initiative.

“OER is very convenient and removes the obstacle of expensive textbooks,” said Federico Chavez, a Front Range Community College student and secretary of the State Student Advisory Council. “When course materials are freely available, both students and instructors can begin the semester smoothly and with genuine enthusiasm for the lessons ahead.”

In addition to the CCCS system office’s award, several CCCS colleges won CDHE grants to fund OER-related projects. Awards for the 2022 grant cycle are listed below:

  • Arapahoe Community College, $56,250
  • Colorado Northwestern Community College, $40,000
  • Community College of Denver, $21,130
  • Pikes Peak Community College, $48,940
  • Red Rocks Community College, $42,879


About CCCS

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education and workforce development, delivering thousands of programs to over 125,000 students annually through 13 colleges and 35 locations across Colorado. The System’s open-access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to high quality, affordable higher education opportunities. The System Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support to the colleges under the direction of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Join us in changing the way Colorado goes to college

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