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Affordable Course Materials

This guide will provide information about affordable course materials and how to locate library and OER resources.


The Problem

The cost of attending college has risen at a rapid pace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the cost of tuition between 2006 and 2016 increased by 63% and the cost of textbooks increased by 88%. According to the Trends in College Pricing the average student at a private four-year college spends around $1,200 on books and supplies each year. This significantly impacts the affordability of college for our students.

Chart displaying the rise in the cost of college tuition and textbooks between 2006 and 2016. College tuition rose by 63% and textbooks by 88%.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, College tuition and fees increase 63 percent since January 2006 on the Internet at (visited November 18, 2020).

Why Use Affordable Course Materials at CSP?

Affordable Course Materials

  • Using OER and other zero or low cost materials removes financial barriers to education for our students.
  • Instructors gain control of the content used in their course. They can control the content by remixing content and choosing the pieces that best meet course objectives.

In a 2018 study at University of Georgia, Colvard, et al. found that:

  • Students perform better in OER classes (received higher grades)
  • Grades improved for all students,  but DFW (grades of D, F, and withdrawal) rates decreased dramatically for students hypothesized to most benefit from affordable course materials (Pell eligible, under-served populations, and part time students)
  • Most significant change in DFW rate was for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Study found a 53.12% increase in average grade and 29.54% decrease in DFW rate for students not enrolled full time

Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Park, H. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metrics.

    International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262–276.


We encourage you to work with your library liaison to learn more and to begin looking for materials that will work for you.

What Are Affordable Course Materials?

Affordable Course Materials are materials that students can obtain for low or zero cost. Affordable Course Materials include Open Educational Resources, library licensed materials (e.g. journal articles, ebooks, streaming videos), and public online materials. Using these materials in classes help make college more affordable for students.

Low cost = zero cost (OER, public onine, & library)