Affordable Course Materials

Why is textbook affordability important?

Textbook prices are rising more than 4 times faster than inflation, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many students never obtain their required textbooks and course materials; others rely on coping mechanisms, such as sharing books or using a library reserve copy. As expected, not having access to assigned course materials has a detrimental impact on student success.

A 2019 Gettysburg College survey found that financial aid awards did not cover the cost of required books and course materials for most students receiving aid. Furthermore, negative effects were more pronounced for first-generation students and Pell Grant recipients, who were more likely to not purchase required books, to not register for a course due to cost, and to struggle academically.

Lowering textbook costs can help remove these barriers. Research at the University of Georgia shows that all students benefit in courses that shift from commercial textbooks to zero-cost Open Educational Resources, and Pell-eligible students benefit the most.

Instructors have the academic freedom to reduce or eliminate the cost of textbooks and other course materials. Musselman Library supports textbook affordability through our services, collections, and collaborative work.

Resources for Students

Learn more about strategies for saving on textbooks with course reserves, library ebooks, open educational resources, and more!

Resources for Instructors

  • Course Reserves - How to request books and media for placement on physical or digital reserve.
  • Library Ebooks and Digital Materials - Library policies for purchasing ebooks for use in the classroom, how to find existing ebooks in MUSCAT Plus, and how to link to digital materials from course Moodle pages.
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) - Find and adopt open educational resources or learn about implementing open pedagogical practices for your class.

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