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Affordable Course Materials

This guide provides faculty with information about affordable course materials and open educational resources.

What's in This Guide?

Welcome! This guide is intended for Illinois State University faculty who are looking for options to increase the affordability of textbooks and course materials for their students. You'll find information about resources and services at Milner Library, including course reserves, databases, and e-books, as well as the open landscape beyond ISU.

This guide is broken into the following sections:

Why Do We Have This Guide?

Since the late 1970s, textbook prices have risen over 800%, or 3.2 times the rate of inflation. The cost of textbooks and course materials pose a significant threat to student success, as students often opt out of purchasing required materials-- which in turn causes their grades to suffer. In 2019, the Textbook Affordability Committee surveyed students and faculty at ISU, and found that  73% of students did not acquire a textbook or course material due to cost and 89% of students delayed purchasing textbooks or materials because of their cost.

At ISU, undergraduates spend $830 annually on textbooks and course materials, and on average finish school with $25,111 in debt. Often, students don't account for the cost of textbook and course materials and find themselves struggling to afford them.

We created this guide to help faculty identify actions they can take to increase the affordability of course materials and relieve this burden for their students. This may include using library services (like course reserves), asking the library to look into licensing options for an e-book, or adopting open educational resources.

Associate Dean