Recently, the Senate of College Councils released the College Tuition Budget Advisory Report (CTBAC). This report summarizes results from the biennial CTBAC survey deployed to all UT Austin students in Fall 2021 to collect feedback from the student body on the University’s
tuition and budget process. For the first time, the survey also included questions related to the impact of required course materials costs on students, and the report includes recommendations to ameliorate the financial burden imposed by these costs.
These recommendations include:
- In accordance with S.R. 2103, which passed Senate’s assembly on April 22nd, 2021, the Registrar should take steps to mark qualifying courses as “Low-Cost” on the course schedule. According to our data, students believe the cut-off for a “Low-Cost” course should be between $20 and $40 in course materials. This would allow students to actively select courses they know will not present a substantial financial burden.
- Deans should encourage the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) by their faculty. The use of OER allows students access to state-of-the-art learning materials (including textbooks, software, and lesson plans) for little-to-no cost and can serve as a significant enhancer of student mental health by reducing financial burden. Administration should provide material support to allow for the use of time and financial resources towards the development of high-quality OER materials. In addition, Deans should provide Department Chairs with guidance to create supportive communities designed to educate faculty members on best practices surrounding OER. Furthermore, resources must be allocated to ensure the sustainability and regular updating of developed materials.
We commend the Senate of College Councils for seeking this feedback and composing strong and meaningful proposals to support the financial well-being of UT Austin students.