In an effort to reduce textbook costs for students, the University of Massachusetts Amherst launched a program in the spring of 2011 called the Open Education Initiative. Ten grants were awarded to faculty members that were interested in using open and free educational resources for their courses during the 2011-2012 academic year. Each grant covered a single course at the cost of $1,000, totaling to a $10,000 investment for the university. It is estimated that the program will save 700 students more than $72,000 throughout the 2011-2012 academic year by using these open educational resources instead of traditional textbooks.
Currently, the Open Education Initiative is half way through its first year of implementation and it is expected to expand next year. In the 2012-2013 academic year, the program will award 20 more grants to faculty that wish to develop similar resources for their courses.
If you would like to know more, you can read the official press release by the UMass Amherst Library: