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Affordable Course Materials Initiative

A collection of resources and information for ACMI - useful for anyone looking to replace costly educational materials with freely-available alternatives


This page is based on the excellent libguide at UMass Amherst, adapted with their permission. This content will evolve and expand as the initiative uncovers additional sources of free material.


Jennifer Chan

About the Initiative

This new UCLA Library initiative incentivizes instructors to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials; these can include open-access scholarly resources, Library-licensed and owned resources, and learning objects and texts that faculty create themselves. A total of $10,000 will be offered for the 2013-14 academic year:

  • five awards of $1,000 each for instructors teaching courses with enrollments of fewer than two hundred students
  • two awards of $2,500 each for instructors teaching courses with enrollment of more than two hundred students.

These modest yet significant sums are meant to offer an incentive for the time it will take instructors to identify new resources, adjust syllabi, and modify assignments and can also be used to cover any actual expenses incurred by the instructor.

The initiative has been endorsed by the Office of the UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the UCLA Academic Senate.


The high price of course materials, including but not limited to textbooks, is a major concern to students and parents; a web page on UCLA’s undergraduate admissions site estimates it will total $1,521 per student for the upcoming academic year, an effective twelve percent addition to basic tuition and fees. Legislative actions to address these costs have been taken by the U.S. Congress and the California Legislature, the UCLA Store has taken steps to lower textbook prices, and USAC has created a textbook lending library, but the problem resists easy, unilateral solutions.

Some three years ago, the UCLA Library launched a collaborative project with USAC and the UCLA Store that continues to lower the cost of printed course readers by leveraging Library-licensed/owned materials. Expanding upon this high-outcome/low-cost effort, the Library has identified a larger role it can play in lowering the cost of course materials, adapted from similar programs created over the past two years by Temple University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Successful implementation of this proposal will also further Library efforts to identify journals for which the licensing terms need revision to make them more usable in instruction and to work with UCLA faculty to more effectively make their scholarly articles, books, and instructional resources available to students and colleagues via open access.

Eligibility to Submit an Application

Each applicant must be the instructor of record. Courses must be for enrolled students (i.e., not UCLA Extension courses) and can be at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Application Process and Deadlines

Applicants should fill out the form on the following pages and submit it as follows:

Mail print applications to:

UCLA Library Affordable Course Materials Initiative
11334 Charles E. Young Research Library
Mailcode 157511

Email electronic applications to:

Applicants will receive confirmation notices when their application forms are received.

All applicants are also required to attend a one-hour workshop at which Library staff members will introduce search strategies and possible sources for open-access or low-cost instructional resources. Following that workshop, each awardee will be assigned an individual librarian, who will work personally with him or her to assist with locating materials.

For Spring Quarter 2015: Applications are due by Friday, October 24.

Applications will be reviewed by a small committee of UCLA Library staff members involved in teaching and learning services and UCLA faculty honored for their teaching accomplishments.

Contact Information

For further information, contact:

Dawn Setzer
Director of UCLA Library Communications
Phone: 310.206.4109

Application Form

Click on either link below to recieve the same form in different formats.

Instructors: Learn More about Copyright

To explain the basics of copyright and lay out some best practices, one of our librarians has created a CCLE course called "Copyright Basics for Instructors." Anyone with a CCLE account can self enroll anytime by clicking on the link below, and if prompted for an enrollment key, entering the word copyright.