Resources for Students

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The Open & Affordable Education Committee enables interested faculty to locate and adopt more affordable, quality educational content for our students. By reducing course material expenses, more students acquire the course materials they need to succeed and benefit from the ISU learning experience. ISU faculty and students have greater access to quality free and low-cost learning materials through a variety of OAEC Affordability initiatives, like immediate access and course reserves.

You can learn more about these initiatives on our About Us page.


Why Focus on Textbooks?

While textbook costs might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the cost of attending college, it is often the final stumbling block for students who don't expect the additional costs. Second, textbook costs are something we can make an impact on right now. And finally: textbook costs are still a big problem.

The cost of textbooks has risen more than four times the rate of inflation over the past decade. As these books go up in price, what's the cost? College students are having a hard time paying for all of their other expenses, like groceries, car payments, gas, and food. Some students have had to delay purchasing their textbooks or avoid buying them altogether because of the cost. Our committee is trying to help you by asking faculty to assign free or more affordable course materials in their classes. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free textbooks, lab books, or other course materials that you can access online. These course materials were published by instructors and shared legally so you can access them for free. If you prefer print, you can buy a print copy of an open textbook at a low cost (typically less than $50), but the digital copy is always free.  The ISU Immediate Access Program provides a digital copy of your course materials at a fraction of their original cost (usually less than $100). Your professors can negotiate to get you a better price for textbooks through I.A.! That lower cost is auto-charged to your U-Bill at the start of the semester, but if you can't cover the cost, you can opt-out as well.  Course Reserves is a service offered by the University Library that keeps course materials "on reserve" so students can access them for their courses. Physical books and DVDs in course reserves can only be checked out for a limited time to ensure that other students can access them. Digital content in course reserves (articles, books, streaming videos, and more) should be available at all times. 

Want to learn more? Check out the resources below: 


What Can I Do?

  1. Ask your professors if they know about or would be willing to use Open & affordable course content (OER, Immediate Access, Course Reserves) in their classes.
  2. Share this information with other students who might need it! OER can make great free study materials as well.
  3. Talk to us! Share your stories about textbook affordability and why this topic matters to you! 
  4. If you have an idea about how to increase the use of open & affordable course content at ISU, contact us! We want to work with you.

How do I see if my courses are using open or affordable resources?

Open Educational Resources

Look out for this description in your Booklist: 

This is a free open educational resource. Click here to view the free ebook in a new tab/window. Students who still prefer to have a physical copy can add the print copy to their cart.

Immediate Access

Look out for this description in your Booklist: 

Immediate Access Item: This item does not need to be added to your shopping cart. It will be automatically billed to your u-bill when enrolled in the course. Click here for more information about Immediate Access course materials.

You can learn more about Immediate Access on the Book Store website

Course Reserves

Ask your instructor if a copy of your course textbook or other materials (readings, videos) is available for students free through Course Reserves. 

Some course materials may be available through the University Library even if they aren't on reserve. Check QuickSearch to see if your books or articles are available online or in the University Library.

Other ways to save money

Is your class using an old-school textbook? You can get other affordable options through the ISU Book Store, such as:

  • Digital access codes and e-books
  • Used and new textbook rental
  • Used and loose-leaf textbook purchase
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