Wendler: WT Students to Be Provided Core Textbooks Free of Charge Beginning Fall 2024

Chip Chandler Jan 16, 2024
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Wendler: WT Students to Be Provided Core Textbooks Free of Charge Beginning Fall 2024

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University students will be provided textbooks for all core curriculum courses beginning in fall 2024, President Walter V. Wendler announced in a Jan. 16 memo.

The memo, which was sent to all faculty, staff and students on the first day of the spring 2024 semester, lays out Wendler’s plan to drastically reduce and, in many cases, eliminate textbook costs for students—a net savings of nearly $5 million within two years.

In August, Wendler announced an ambitious vision to eliminate most textbook-related costs for all WT students. He then began a series of meetings with administrators, faculty and students in every college, then set up a blue-ribbon committee to work on a plan of action.

“What we learned is the vision in its entirety was too ambitious to implement by fall 2024,” Wendler wrote in the Jan. 16 memo. “However, we have a plan to significantly reduce textbook costs for WT students, and I am proud of the progress we have made toward fulfilling the vision.”

Administrators are exploring subscription-service options with textbook publishers, which would provide students and faculty access to a robust collection of digital and print textbooks and ancillary materials. Because an agreement would be negotiated at an institutional level, WT expects significant savings over the costs of individual purchases.

University funds have been budgeted to support a three-year publisher agreement, as well as to pay for instructional materials for core courses that are not available via the selected publisher or through open educational resources, or OER.

WT has aggressively pursued more open educational resource texts; in the past six years, OER utilization has risen from 5 percent to 22 percent across the University. OER materials are teaching resources that are in the public domain or are released under intellectual property licenses that permit free use, adaptation and redistribution.

Students may incur textbook expenses in upper-level and graduate courses because resources available through the selected publisher or via OER may not meet instructional needs, Wendler wrote.

“The savings are significant and reflect the value WT places on shared governance and partnering with students and families to reduce costs, which reduces educational debt,” Wendler said. “I appreciate the efforts of faculty, students, staff and administrators to address head-on a plan to make WT a no-cost textbook campus. The work you have done and the progress you have made toward this vision will be a path for others to follow.”

Efficiently utilizing resources is a key maxim of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.