clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

FCC: Digital textbooks could save US $60 per student annually, $2.94 billion overall

New, 40 comments

A new estimate from the FCC shows that a switch to digital textbooks could save the US around $2.94 billion per year.

iBooks 2 Textbooks
iBooks 2 Textbooks

The US hasn't been shy about its desire to bring digital textbooks to the classroom, and a new analysis from the FCC shows that doing so could save close to $3 billion annually. Based on numbers from Project RED, the FCC estimates that traditional learning tools like textbooks cost around $3,871 per year per student. Meanwhile, the most generous estimate for digital, which looks at replacing these tools with a single tablet, sees those costs drop to $3,621 annually. However, despite Apple's push into the textbook space, these numbers appear to be for non-iPad tablets — they assume that current tablets will cost just $250 amortized over four years, while future low-end tablets could drop as low as $150. A more conservative estimate puts the costs of a lower-end tablet and an additional mobile device at $3,811 per year, for savings of $60 per student. While that may not sound like a lot, with an estimated $49 million elementary and secondary students in the US, $60 per student means overall savings of around $2.94 billion. While iPads might be too expensive for most students, low-cost tablets like the Kindle Fire or Google's rumored device could be a great fit for the education market.