Making College More Affordable for Ohio State Students

Did you know that the cost of textbooks has risen by 1,041 percent since 1977? In fact, a typical Ohio State student spends an average of $1,000 on course materials each year.

Let’s change that.

The Affordable Learning Exchange, or ALX, is a cross-campus partnership between University Libraries, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning, Undergraduate Student Government, and the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching. It funds and supports instructors who want to replace their conventional (and sometimes, costly) textbooks with open educational resources or low-cost alternatives.

ALX is now accepting proposals from instructors who want to incorporate free or low-cost textbook alternatives into their courses. Ideas can be submitted here.

“We’re looking for a wide variety of ideas for our next cohort and looking forward to touching as many areas and students as possible,” said Ashley Miller, program manager for affordability and access in the Office of Distance Education and eLearning. “Our first group of grant recipients are implementing their projects this semester, and are projected to save students nearly $1 million by Spring 2017.”

The three primary grant opportunities are:

  • Textbook Affordability Grant: Projects funded through this grant will need limited hands-on support and be close to implementation (as in, work may have already begun). Individuals and teams are encouraged to apply.
  • ODEE Affordable Learning Grants (Exploration Grant or Open Impact Grant): These grants are designed to support transformational projects that result in high-impact, sustainable cost savings for students. These projects will need significant guidance and project management support.
  • Book Launch Grant: Participants create interactive textbook resources for use in Ohio State classes and beyond.

Miller added, “At the Columbus campus alone, 81 percent of students apply for some form of federal student aid. Now imagine that money being used up on tuition, room and board. What are you supposed to do about books? That’s the gap we’re trying to bridge.”

Additionally, ALX addresses the challenge put forth by President Drake’s 2020 Vision to link affordability, access and excellence in teaching and learning at Ohio State. By replacing costly conventional textbooks, students not only save money, but instructors also regain control of course content.

ALX will be accepting proposals now through Friday, Sept. 30. There are also four informational sessions, where you can receive more details about the RFP and ask ALX representatives questions:

Also be sure to check out the ALX Q&A series for a glimpse into projects implemented this semester.