Why does textbook affordability matter?

Textbooks, lab manuals, study guides, videos, and other course materials provide a foundation for learning in college courses. The cost of these materials can add $1,000 in costs on top of tuition each semester, forcing students to choose between purchasing textbooks and basic needs or to work more and study less to afford textbooks.

Faced with these choices, students often forego purchasing required textbooks and over half of students delay purchasing them until their financial aid is available. 

However, readings and assignments begin the first week of classes and when students have first-day access to materials they do better in the course (Agnihotri, Essa & Baker, 2017). The Library is taking steps to make course materials more affordable so that students have a strong start to the semester.

How does the Library help with textbook affordability? 

While the Library cannot purchase every textbook for every course on campus, we can help in a few important ways:

  • Open Textbooks The Library supports faculty in selecting open textbooks and open educational resources for your courses. Open Textbooks and OER are high quality, no/low-cost course materials.
  • The Library Collection Digital books, journals, databases and primary sources can be linked in UWM Canvas courses.
  • Equipment and Reserve Services Borrow copies of textbooks and equipment you may need for your courses. 
  • Interlibrary Loan Faculty can request digital┬ácopies of articles and book chapters for Canvas.

Textbook affordability consultations for Faculty

For additional information see the Guide to Textbook and Course Content Selection. If you are in the process of reviewing your textbook and would like to explore affordable options, please contact us for a consultation.

Finding no/low cost textbook courses in the Schedule of Classes

If the total cost for textbooks in your class is less than $25, faculty can include this information in the Schedule of Classes. Use the no/low cost filter under “Advanced Search Options” to identify these courses.