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AL$, or Affordable Learning $olutions, is an initiative by the CSU Chancellor’s office to promote the use of low- or no-cost course materials to reduce the financial burden on students. Since 2016, AL$ has saved CSUN students over $1,000,000 in textbook costs.
Even before participating in the AL$ initiative, CSUN was 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 authoring their own course materials and 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 $20 and also available at the library. Follett introduced the textbook rental program several years ago, and it recently expanded to include the rental of digital textbooks, saving students roughly 50%. For the last several years, the University Library has received funds from the Campus Quality Fee to purchase reserve textbooks for classes with high textbook costs and large enrollment.
Affordable Learning Solutions is a natural extension of these efforts to continue helping students access materials and be successful at CSUN. The AL$ Initiative at CSUN is committed to educating faculty on Open Educational Resources (OER), assisting faculty with finding quality low- or no-cost course materials, and supporting faculty as they redesign their courses. Check out CSUN's Academic Senate Resolution AL$/AB-798 for more information.