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 faculty to consider replacing all, or some, of their for-cost, required course materials with resources that are free for students. 

Eligible Faculty

All 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 to successful faculty applicants that commit to replacing for-cost course materials with Open Educational Resources (OER) or appropriately licensed Library resources that are free for students to use. 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. One submission per applicant. For joint applicants, the stipend will be divided.

To apply, fill out the Application Form

Upon completion of the course, recipients are required to submit a final 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. Funding will be released upon the receipt of the final report submitted to the Dean of the Library. The final report 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, email If you are interested in using resources not currently owned by the Library, please consult Sylvia Orner to inquire about using funds for purchasing materials (up to $200 per accepted application).

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/Summer courses: First Friday in December

Application Deadline for Fall/Intersession courses: Last Friday in April

Previous Stipends Awarded

Spring 2023:

Fall 2022:

Fall 2021:

Spring 2021:

Fall 2020:

Spring 2020:

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