Access & Affordability
Northwestern students are expected to budget upwards of $1,600 per year for books and supplies. These costs vary by discipline and can negatively affect academic performance, especially for students from low or middle income backgrounds. While scholarships, grants, and loans help with tuition and housing, textbooks and supplies tend to fall directly within the student’s family or individual contribution, causing disparity in our classrooms.
Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) is a network of Northwestern faculty and staff interested in reducing course material costs.
Place Timely Textbook Orders
The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act requires that all course material information be made available to students prior to pre-registration. Learn more about how AIR can help you meet the deadlines and help your students be prepared for class.
Utilize Library Resources
The Libraries provide a variety of services to support course affordability on campus, including syllabi review, OER bibliographies, and Course Reserve services.
Consider Open Educational Resources as an Alternative to Traditional Textbooks
OER are free educational materials that provide faculty the freedom to adapt and distribute course materials without restrictions and at no cost to students. Librarians are available to provide assistance in identifying, customizing, and developing OER for your course.
Explore Grant Opportunities
Apply for funding opportunities to develop and use Open Educational Resources for undergraduate courses. Funded by the Office of the Provost and the Libraries, the OER grant program is designed to support faculty who are interested in using, adapting, and remixing openly-licensed educational materials. No experience necessary to apply.
Learn about Additional Programs at Northwestern
There are a variety of programs at Northwestern designed to provide free or low-cost books, printing, software, and laptops to students. Learn more about these resources so you can share them with your students.
AIR Contest Winner
Congratulations to Jenna Braunstein of Medill for winning the quarterly “You Can Make a Difference” contest! The contest, which is open to departmental program assistants at Northwestern, is designed to encourage faculty and program assistants to input course material information into CAESAR by the quarterly deadline. Providing course material information in a timely manner is a legal requirement, and is also key step in making sure students have full access to course materials by the first day of class. This quarter, Medill had 97.83% of its course information in CAESAR by the deadline — a 47% increase from last quarter! Congrats to Jenna and all of the Medill instructors who made this possible. Visit the Timely Textbook Orders page to learn more about course registration and to see a list of the runners up!