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Affordable Learning Solutions at CSUN

What is AL$?

CSU Affordable Learning Solutions

What is Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$)?

CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative enables campuses to provide more affordable educational content for students. For more information about the CSU initiative, check out the Affordable Learning Solutions homepage. The infographic below shows AL$ Impact for students in the CSU.

CSUN is no stranger to helping students find ways to save money on textbooks and curricular materials. The eText initiative was launched in 2013 to aid faculty in creating OERs. Outside of eTexts, some instructors have curated content for students to use. U100 used to require a $75 course reader, which they have replaced with an eText and supplementary materials. The only required book is the common read, which is typically less than $20 and also available at the library. Follett introduced the textbook rental program several years ago, and it recently expanded to include the rental of digital textbooks, saving students roughly 50%. For the last several years, the Oviatt Library has received funds from the Campus Quality Fee to purchase reserve textbooks for classes with high textbook costs and large enrollment.

Affordable Learning Solutions is a natural extension of these efforts to continue helping students access materials and be successful at CSUN. The AL$ Initiative at CSUN is committed to educating faculty on open educational resources, assisting faculty with finding quality low or no cost content, and supporting faculty as they redesign their courses. Check out CSUN's Academic Senate Resolution AL$/AB-798. The image below shows AL$ achievements at CSUN (updated 4/15/2018, subject to change).

CSUN AL$ initiatives have saved 203,655,50 dollars 2017-2018.

Why is AL$ important for student success?

There is a misconception that resources that are free are not high quality and this is not true. There are many repositories and publishers that offer peer-reviewed resources. Choosing free or low-cost cost materials can have a huge financial impact on students.

  • reduce costs for students

  • online resources allow for a more interactive, collaborative learning experience

  • faculty can tailor educational resources to fit their needs

According to a survey during 2016-2017, only 41.8% CSUN students purchase their textbooks 100% of the time.Only 41.8% students purchase their textbooks 100% of the time.


How do I know which course has 'free of cost' materials?

California Senate Bill 1359 requires CSU campuses “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.” Look for the following symbol in Class Search to identify zero-cost course materials. 

zero cost course materials logo

Please contact Robert Munck from Campus Store at to make sure the zero cost symbol is indicated in your course. An example:

screenshot of zero cost symbol


How can I find free or low-cost materials?

The Oviatt Library, Campus Store, CSU’s Merlot system, and publishers like OpenStax, provide information, tools, and resources to get started using more affordable course materials. Check out the Finding Affordable Materials tab on this guide for resources.


Accessibility Statement

Accessibility is one of the core principles of the AL$ initiative and it is imperative that all students have access to all learning materials required for their education. Check out the Universal Design Center to make sure your content is accessible by everyone.


How can I get involved?

Faculty: Check out the Getting Involved section of this website. Contact any member of the AL$ team directly or fill out this Google Form and a member of AL$ will contact you.

Students: Encourage your instructors to consider Affordable Learning Solutions using this website and become active in your campus Student Government to be an advocate of Affordable Course Materials. Contact Yi Ding at to participate in your campus AL$ initiatives.

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