AL$, or Affordable Learning $olutions, is a transformative textbook affordability initiative guided by transparency, accessibility, and sustainability that plays a crucial role in coordinating campus partnerships and fostering collaborations across various departments at CSUN. Working closely with the Library, Campus Store, DRES, Faculty Development, IT, and many others, AL$ creates a network of support to advance its mission of promoting low- or no-cost course materials and enhancing student success. Backed by compelling research and funding from the Chancellor's Office, AL$ demonstrates a clear correlation between affordable materials and course pass rates, especially for historically underserved students. By saving over $3,000,000 in textbook costs for 30,000 CSUN students since 2016, AL$ reduces financial barriers, increases graduation rates, and bridges equity gaps. With streamlined reporting and support for over 1000 instructors and students, AL$ drives inclusive excellence, fostering a level playing field for all students while supporting faculty retention.
CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) initiative enables CSU campuses to provide more affordable educational content for students.
Even before participating in the AL$ 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.
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