Affordable Learning Initiative

Faculty Tips

Students typically spend over $800 each year on instructional materials - textbooks, readers and everything else - so here are some steps that both faculty and students can use to improve affordability:


Commit to multiple terms when possible - this helps with buy-back for students, and textbook rentals.

Order your textbooks early via iLearn - this helps with buy-back for students and in searching for used texts, and is critically important for VA, SDR, and students with financial aid issues.

Offer students a choice of e-text or print format whenever possible (it is advisable to not require one form of materials over the other).

Evaluate how much of the textbook you actually use - there may be better alternatives.

Parts of a textbook

Ask the publisher about custom text options - many times they are less than full-text.

Check with your CSUMB librarian for possible options.

Non-traditional books

The CSUMB Library may be able to procure a physical or e-text version.

Look for e-text options such as Nook, Kindle, or iBook.

Course readers

Course readers may only be sold if approved as a course fee.

Course readers should follow all copyright laws.

Check with CAT or the CSUMB Library to consult on your reader.

Course readers should be digital and accessible - CAT can assist in training and accessible digitization.

Other options

Start with the CSUMB Library for electronic content that the library already owns or could provide access to.

Build your own content in iLearn in collaboration with CAT instructional designers and the CSUMB Library.

Does self-publishing intrigue you? There are options through various technologies and services.