Affordable Learning Implementation Grants

“Implementing an OER this semester actually turned out to be fortuitous. When students were forced to leave campus, not having to lug another textbook home proved useful. It also meant I could be certain that every student was able to keep up with the readings and other assignments because I knew they had access to the materials. Overall, I think OER should be implemented on a more widespread basis and I'll do my best to keep using as many free or open sources as available.”  — Dr. Adam Pratt, Associate Professor of History, Spring 2020 grant recipient


What is Affordable Learning?

Affordable Learning aims to reduce the financial burden on students by eliminating expensive for-cost textbooks and course materials with no-cost or low-cost educational resources. For our Affordable Learning Implementation Grants, formerly OER Implementation Grants, faculty may opt to use existing OER textbooks and open source software that is available online or may compile course materials from appropriately licensed e-books and journals that are open access or available through the Library.

OER stands for Open Educational Resources. These include online textbooks, media, and other materials that are available freely for use and can be remixed/reused for educational purposes. For a list of available OER resources and appropriately licensed Affordable Learning materials, visit

Why is it important?

According to the College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges, undergraduates at private 4-year nonprofit universities spend an average of $1,240 per year on textbooks. Numerous studies suggest that the high cost of textbooks lead many students to forgo purchasing course texts, which can affect students' participation and success within the course. Affordable Learning Implementation Grants incentivize full-time faculty to consider replacing all, or some, of their for-cost, required course materials with resources that are free for students. 

Eligible Faculty

Full-time Faculty are eligible to apply for an Affordable Learning Implementation Grant. Faculty members who have previously received an Affordable Learning Implementation Grant are not eligible to receive a stipend for the same course except in the case of major revisions to the course. Preference will be given to faculty who have not received an Affordable Learning Implementation Grant within the last three-years.

Application and Awards

The library will award $1,000 Affordable Learning Implementation Grants in Fall and Spring semesters when funding allows, with supplemental Strategic Initiatives funding from the University. Affordable Learning Implementation Grants do not need to be used for purchasing course materials. The grants are faculty incentive stipends that are subject to taxes. For joint applicants, the stipend will be divided. 

To apply, fill out the Application Form

Upon completion of the course, recipients will be expected to submit a report documenting the impact that the Affordable Learning Implementation Grant had on their section(s) and if they are planning to continue using OER or affordable learning materials in future offerings of the course. Final reports are submitted to the Dean of the Library and will be published on this page.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please consult with the librarian liaison to your department to help you prepare your proposal. For more information, or to be connected with your department’s librarian liaison, contact Kelly Banyas, Research & Instruction Librarian for Student Success, or Marleen Cloutier, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian. 

Selection Criteria

A group of Library faculty and teaching faculty representatives invited from the Library Advisory Committee will review all applications. The judging panel will consider the following criteria: 

  • number of students affected
  • total cost savings for students
  • the appropriateness of the proposed replacement material (i.e., is the material appropriately licensed for classroom use)
  • the proposed plan for assessing the effect of implementation
  • the faculty member's testimonial on the effect the materials could have on their class(es)
  • if the applicant received an Affordable Learning Implementation Grant in the last three-years

The judging panel will use the rubric that can be found on the OER Research Guide

Application Deadlines

Application Deadline for Spring 2022 courses: Friday, November 19, 2021

Application Deadline for Fall 2022 courses: Friday, April 15, 2022

Previous Stipends Awarded

Spring 2021:

Fall 2020:

Spring 2020: