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The University of Nebraska’s unified open educational resources (OER) program – Open Nebraska – has saved NU students over $15 million in textbook costs as of May 2023. As Open Nebraska was instituted across campuses, the NU Intercampus OER Research Committee was convened to study the effect of the Open Nebraska program on student success beyond monetary savings. This white paper represents the first systematic findings of that effort. In general, NU students are less likely to fail or withdraw and more likely to earn better grades when instructors implement open educational resources in their courses. Furthermore, in line with previous research, underrepresented students at UNO seem to benefit the most from early access to no-cost and low-cost course materials. At the very least, the implementation of OER in the NU system does not seem to harm academic success while saving students millions of dollars in textbook costs. These promising results suggest that the NU System should continue to support and promote efforts to increase the use of OER in our courses and programs. In addition, the NU Intercampus OER Research Committee should continue to gather and analyze data on student success and best practices related to OER implementation.


This is an unpublished white paper.

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