San Jacinto College Students Get Free Online Textbooks and ‘Aid Like a Paycheck’ | Texas | Higher Education
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"As a contender for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, San Jacinto College’s efforts around student success have gone beyond the traditional means of access, affordability and completion. Through the Pasadena, Texas-based school’s Open Educational Resources (OER) program and the “Aid like a Paycheck” program, San Jac students have saved nearly $1.5 million in textbook costs. The college also has reduced student loan default rates and increased student retention each semester. The OER program was established in 2016 through a grant from the Achieving the Dream foundation, a student success organization with a goal to assist community colleges in helping low-income students and students of color achieve academic success, personal growth and economic opportunities. “These three things – the personal growth, the academic success and economic opportunity – are one of our visions for our students because 56 percent of our San Jac population is of Hispanic or Latino origin,” said Tonja Conerly, Open Educational Resources project director and a professor of sociology at the college. Students have access to 676 OER courses taught by 130 faculty members. To date, 15,879 students have enrolled in the open-book courses...."