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.
Easy Ways to Make Textbooks Available
Listing course materials in CAESAR by registration, utilizing library resources, and creating alternatives to course packs are just a few simple steps you can take to make sure students have access to course materials by the first day of class.
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.
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.
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.
In the News
- Textbooks are pricey, so students are getting creative. Washington Post, 1/17/20