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Affordable Learning $olutions

The official website of the CSUN AL$ initiative.

Report Textbook Costs


Reporting textbook costs for your course can make a big difference by helping students make informed decisions and budget appropriately as they select their classes. Per SB1359, this information is required to be reported so that students may clearly view textbook expenses in Class Search. Low-cost and zero-cost courses will be designated as such in the Class Search system. 

Textbook Cost Reporting Form

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why is reporting textbook costs so important?
  • To comply with legislation: CSUN is required to highlight courses with zero cost in Class Search per SB1359. By filling out this form, you are in compliance. 
  • To support student success: You are providing transparent textbook information to students when they select classes and plan ahead of time to purchase course materials to take your class.
  • To save time: by filling out this form, you don’t need to send a separate email to Campus Store if you are teaching a course with zero or low cost course materials.
 How are textbook costs shown in Class Search?

Per SB1359, CSUN is required to “clearly highlight, by means that may include a symbol or logo in a conspicuous place on the online campus course schedule, the courses that exclusively use digital course materials that are free of charge to students and may have a low-cost option for print versions.” CSUN uses two designations for courses:


Zero cost icon

Required Costs: $0

Low cost icon

Required Costs: $50 or Less


Included in the cost caps are: textbooks and other text-based materials, workbooks, lab manuals, online homework platforms and codes or publisher-provided curricular materials for students.

Excluded from the cost caps are: standard school supplies (pens, notebooks, paper, scantrons, green books, etc), standard calculators, and class fees.

See below for a screenshot of how these textbook icons look like in Class Search for students to identify classes with low cost or zero cost course materials: A screenshot of Class Search with highlighted textbook icons

 How do I get my course designated with the appropriate icons?

If you are teaching during the next academic session, please fill out the form below or contact your Department as soon as you have determined the course materials for your class to make sure the textbook information is available for students to select classes and find affordable options to prepare for your class.

For low-cost course materials courses, the cost is calculated through the Campus Store system.

If you are not using a textbook from the Campus Store but think you fulfill the cost caps, please make sure to fill out the form. 

 When do I need to fill out the form?

Please fill out the above form and contact your department, Campus Store, or AL$ your assigned course materials as soon as you have determined the course materials for your class so that your students have adequate time finding affordable course materials to take your class.

 What cost should I use? What if materials are less expensive on Amazon, etc.?

To calculate your text-related costs for these designations, use the cost of materials in the CSUN Campus Store. While materials may be less expensive elsewhere, those prices can often vary and can have limited quantities that are not always guaranteed to be available to all students. Contact Robert Munck or Keila Reyes, textbook managers, for help with bookstore pricing.

 What if my textbook is available as an e-book through the Oviatt?

If your required text is available as a free-to-students e-book through the Oviatt Library, as long as you don’t require the printed text in your class, your course can qualify for the $0 cost designation. However, in this case, the text should not be listed as “required” through the bookstore’s site, because students may assume they must purchase it. Consider listing the text as “optional” on the bookstore’s site and messaging students about their choices before the term begins.

 What if I don’t require any texts or outside materials for my class?

Your course CAN qualify for the $0 designation if no outside materials or texts are required. For the purposes of these cost designations, it doesn’t matter if you are using instructor-created materials, activities, slides, websites, library materials, etc. Apply the question: does my course have any text or publisher-related costs? If the answer is no, the course meets the $0 designation. If the answer is yes, but $50 or less, the course meets the low-cost designation.

 What happens after I fill out the textbook report form?
  • If you choose $0 for the question on the total cost of your required course materials, your course will be marked as a "Zero-Cost Course Materials" course in Class Search for students.
  • If you choose over $50 for the question on the total cost of your required course materials, we might be able to purchase a copy of your textbook to put on Reserve for your students.
  • If you indicate an interest in knowing more about any of the topics on course materials, we will contact you to provide more info.
 What if I am unsure about the cost of my materials or have other questions?

​Consult Robert Munck or Keila Reyes, textbook managers, for guidance. For questions about AL$, please contact the AL$ team.



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