From West Hills College Lemoore

West Hills College Lemoore has received a grant to create a new degree program using high quality open educational resources (OER) in new degree programs.  These resources consist of research and educational materials licensed for public use free of cost. 

The initiative, which involves 38 community colleges in 13 states, is designed to help remove financial roadblocks that can derail students’ progress and spur improvements that will increase the likelihood of degree and certificate completion. WHCL is one of only two colleges in California to receive a grant.

At West Hills College Lemoore, a new degree using cost free OER content in health science will be offered. 

“West Hills College Lemoore is very proud to be one of only 38 colleges selected nationwide for the Achieving the Dream OER (Open Educational Resources) Degree Initiative grant,” said Dr. Kristin Clark, WHCL President. “The high price of textbooks often creates barriers to access and completion, and this initiative will help us remove those barriers for our students. Our pledge is to exponentially increase the use of free textbooks and resources in our courses, and this award will help us advance our OER initiatives.” 

The annual costs of textbooks are about $1,300 per year for a full-time community college student and amount to about a third of the cost of an Associate’s degree. This cost, research shows, is a significant barrier to college completion. Students who don’t complete college are over 50 percent more likely than those who graduated to cite textbook costs as a major financial barrier, according to a study by the research firm Public Agenda.

The college plans to roll out the new degree program throughout 2017, with the goal of using it as a template to create similar programs in the future.