Students re-launch #TextbookBroke campaign across Ontario

September 10, 2018

TORONTO, ON - Starting today, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) re-launches the #TextbookBroke campaign. The campaign highlights the high cost of textbooks students are forced to pay in addition to paying for their tuition and other fees. In January, students shared their stories about the detrimental costs of textbooks on their wallets and mental health. Factors such as the cost and lack of flexibility of traditional learning materials, including textbooks, create different financial and learning barriers that can limit the courses some students can afford to take. An affordable post-secondary education is essential for students to succeed in all aspects of their undergraduate career.

Through various social media channels, students will share the amount they spent on textbooks to create awareness on the cost of these materials as well as advocate for the use of open educational resources (OERs). The goal of the campaign is to encourage faculty, institutions, and governments to fund, adopt, and adapt OERs. When OUSA ran this campaign in January, hundreds of students told us about the thousands of dollars they could have spent towards basic needs such as groceries and rent rather than textbooks.

OERs are high-quality, affordable, and accessible resources, available through public domain or open copyright license, that permits students to access them for free. Faculty and instructors have full capabilities to customize and adapt OERs for use in their own classrooms.

“The #TextbookBroke campaign is an opportunity to hear stories directly from students, and to consider the impact that expensive course materials have on their day to day life,” said Julia Göllner, OUSA Vice President Administration and Human Resources and student at Queen’s University. “We believe that financial access should never be a barrier to education, and the conversation around affordable course materials is essential to promoting accessible, accountable, and high-quality education at the post secondary level”.

In 2017, the Government of Ontario announced an initial investment of $1 million to support eCampus Ontario in the development of the Open Textbook Library. Thanks to OERs, students across Ontario have already saved $1.7 million through the use of these resources. That number continues to grow as students come back to school this Fall.

“We’re excited to see the impact that OERs have had on students in Ontario, and we want to keep this momentum going,” said Danny Chang, OUSA President and student at Western University.” “Our hope is that with campaigns like ours, we can further the conversations taking place with institutions and the province regarding learning materials that are more accessible for our students.”

The #TextbookBroke campaign originated in British Columbia and is expanding to various Ontario universities through OUSA and colleges through the College Student Alliance until Sept 21. To learn more about the Open Textbook Library visit

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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.

Deborah Lam
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
[email protected]