Students on the four University of Missouri campuses will soon be paying less for textbooks.

Students on the four University of Missouri campuses will soon be paying less for textbooks.

University system President Mun Choi wants to use more open-source learning material written by experts, vetted by their peers and posted for free downloading. Choi spoke about the effort Wednesday at an event with members of the Board of Curators, administrators, lawmakers, faculty from all four campuses and student representatives, the Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/2t2L4HQ ) reported.

He said the goal is to save students money and provide up-to-date materials. Faculty, including graduate assistants, will be eligible for incentive payments of $1,000 to $10,000 for preparing and adopting materials.

"We want to provide our students an opportunity to have a low cost, high-quality alternative," Choi said.

Universities and state governments are lining up behind the cause of open-source materials as a way to make college more affordable. Nationally, students pay an average of $1,200 a year for textbooks. At the flagship campus in Columbia, the average is about $540 per year, said Dale Sanders, senior associate director of campus retail. The most expensive book requirement for a course is $570 for a bundle of five books on diagnosing ultrasound images, he said.

Open source textbooks are free to the user, with a nominal fee of about $30 to $40 to publish a physical, hardback book at the Mizzou Store, Choi said. The store also offers an AutoAccess system that provides students a cheap way to access textbooks unavailable on open-source sites.

Adopting free, open-source textbooks for 10 courses in the fall semester will save students more than $1 million in the coming year, he said.