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Affordable Learning $olutions

The official website of the CSUN AL$ initiative.

Cost-Saving Tips

General Tips

  • Are you a first-time freshman in 2021? CSUN Ready: Free Course Materials for First-Time Freshmen provides students with free course materials for their Fall 2021 semester courses. Recognizing the challenging learning environment many students faced while finishing high school during COVID-19, CSUN will support new, incoming first-time freshmen by providing all required course materials at no charge for the Fall 2021 semester. Check out your emails or this website for more information.


  • Get the syllabi of your selected courses as soon as possible to allow for enough time to search for affordable textbook options
  • Let your professors know if you have trouble accessing their course materials – they want you to succeed!
    • Your professor may be able to ask a librarian to digitize portions of textbooks, purchase an “unlimited use” ebook using existing library funds for reserve materials, or provide links to existing library digital resources
    • You can always ask your professors to put a textbook on reserve! Fill out this form to submit an anonymous course reserves request.

Look for Class Search Icons

Did you know that Class Search uses icons to indicate which classes have zero-cost or low-cost course materials? This can help you select affordable courses and budget for textbook costs as you register for classes. You can even use search filters to only see zero-cost and low-cost courses. Keep an eye out for these icons in Class Search:


Zero cost icon

Zero Cost
Course Materials

Low cost icon

Low Cost
Course Materials
($50 or Less)


A screenshot of Class Search with highlighted textbook icons

CSUN Library Resources

Course Reserves

Some instructors will put textbooks on reserve at the University Library to make course materials accessible to students. You can search course reserves for your textbooks by instructor, course number, or book title. 

Quick tip: Many textbooks on reserve can only be checked out for two hours due to high demand. If you're relying on course reserves to do your reading, you may want to scan the chapters you need so that you can read them later without worrying about the time limit. 


Online Textbooks

Search for textbooks & ebooks in the library catalog using OneSearch by applying the search filter "Available Online at CSUN"

Screenshot showing "Available Online at CSUN" filter



If CSUN doesn't have your textbook, you may be able to borrow it for 30-60 days from another CSU campus. Just make sure to set the dropdown in OneSearch to "All CSU Libraries".

Screenshot of OneSearch's All CSU Libraries dropdown option


Check out these video tutorials if you're unsure about how to do any of these things!

Other Textbook Resources

Price Match at CSUN Campus Store

If you find a lower textbook price on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a local campus competitor, the Campus Store will match it within 7 days of your original purchase date. Learn more about the Campus Store's Price Match Program.


Used and Low-Cost Textbooks

SJSU's Resources for Used and Low-Cost Textbooks section has lots of great resources to help you locate textbooks at reduced prices. 

Report ADA Problems with Library Services and Resources