There are few bigger burdens on college students’ wallets than the price of textbooks. But with Pierce College at JBLM’s Pierce Open Pathways program, students can earn a fully transferable Associate of Arts degree without ever shelling out a dime on course books.
Pierce Open Pathways eschews traditional textbooks in favor of open educational resources, each of which are carefully vetted by Pierce College officials. Opting for these high-quality, openly licensed learning resources has saved students more than $2 million in textbook costs since 2015.
Pierce Open Pathways offers more than fifty programs each term, a number that Pierce College at JBLM executive director Mark Haskins said will only continue to grow. In a press release, Haskins said, “It’s important to remember that OER (open educational resources) is not just about savings, but it’s also about relevant, flexible course materials.”
The program has also been a huge boon for degree-seeking service members, who often face additional barriers to pursuing higher education. “While military tuition assistance (TA) provides an excellence educational benefit for service members, it cannot be used to pay for textbooks, which can be a significant expense,” Haskins said. “Students in our OER classes have little to no out-of-pocket costs, further making us one of the most accessible schools and best values in education for the military.”
While the programs are offered through Pierce College’s JBLM campus, all students can enroll in classes through Pierce Open Pathways. Available courses are listed at Pierce College at JBLM’s website.