Libraries and Collections
Affordable Course Material Initiative

Affordable Course Materials Initiative

This pilot initiative encourages instructors to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials; these can include open-access scholarly resources, Library-licensed and owned resources, and learning objects and texts that faculty create themselves. The following awards are available:

  • $1,000 each for instructors teaching courses with enrollments of fewer than two hundred students
  • $2,500 each for instructors teaching courses with enrollments of two hundred or more students
  • Collection development awards to build or enhance Library collections in support of specific courses

These financial awards are meant to offer an incentive for the time it will take instructors to identify new resources, adjust syllabi, and modify assignments and can also be used to cover any actual expenses incurred by the instructor. Each applicant must be the instructor of record, and the courses must be for enrolled students (i.e., not UCLA Extension courses) at the undergraduate or graduate levels.

The initiative has been endorsed by the Office of the UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the UCLA Academic Senate.

Applications for courses to be taught during the Winter 2015 quarter are due Friday, May 30. Applications for courses to be taught during the Spring 2015 quarter are due Friday, October 24. The application period for courses to be taught during the Fall 2014 quarter has closed.


The high price of course materials, including but not limited to textbooks, is a major concern to students and parents; a web page on UCLA’s undergraduate admissions site estimates it will total $1,599 per student for the current academic year, an effective twelve percent addition to basic tuition and fees. Legislative actions to address these costs have been taken by the U.S. Congress and the California Legislature, the UCLA Store has taken steps to lower textbook prices, and the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) has created a textbook lending library, but the problem resists easy, unilateral solutions.

Several years ago, the UCLA Library launched a collaborative project with USAC and the UCLA Store that continues to lower the cost of printed course readers by leveraging Library-licensed/owned materials. Expanding upon this high-outcome/low-cost effort, the Library has identified a larger role it can play in lowering the cost of course materials, adapted from similar programs created recently by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Temple University.

In addition to better integrating UCLA Library collections and services into instruction, this initiative also supports Library efforts to identify journals for which the licensing terms need revision to make them more usable in instruction and to work with UCLA faculty to more effectively make their scholarly articles, books, and instructional resources available to students and colleagues via open access.