Affordable Learning Solutions
At the heart of Arizona Online’s mission is a dedication to removing all obstacles and barriers on the path to a world-class education. One formidable challenge continues to be access to quality, affordable learning materials - students struggle with purchasing the required books and resources for classes due to cost, and are not prepared for success on the first day of classes. A survey of 1000 students from four-year institutions across the US and Canada on student access to course materials found that 85% of students delayed or avoided purchasing textbooks for their courses, with 91% citing cost as the reason. 50% of the same students said that their grades had suffered because of their decision1. The U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Student Public Interest Research Groups conducted a similar survey2 of more than 2000 students from over 150 universities, and determined the following major findings:
- Students continue to choose to forgo purchasing required course materials despite concerns that their grades will suffer.
- The cost of course materials was a factor in enrollment decisions.
- Students expressed the desire for faculty to adopt alternatives to costly textbooks, such as free and online textbooks.
As the number of quality free and low-cost learning materials continues to increase, Arizona Online seeks to connect faculty with viable options for reducing the cost of textbooks and resources for their students. Our mission is to ensure that all of our learner have access to a high-caliber academic experience without sacrificing rigor or quality. The Arizona Online Affordable Learning Solutions initiative hopes to achieve the following goals:
- Inform Arizona Online faculty of the variety of quality, lower and no-cost textbooks and learning materials available as replacements for their current costly materials
- Assist Arizona Online Faculty with the curation, selection and deployment of these materials in their fully-online courses
- Measure the rate of cost-savings distributed to Arizona Online students over time
Click the button below to learn more about the ways in which we will support faculty teaching for Arizona Online.
Team and External Partners
Our Affordable Learning Solutions initiative is only possible through strategic partnerships with members of the Arizona Online community.
The Arizona Online Affordable Learning Solutions team consists of the following individuals:
- Joshua Steele - Sr. Director of Online Student Success, Arizona Online
- Angela Gunder - Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum Development, Office of Digital Learning
- Rachel Hahn - Program Coordinator for Online Student Success, Arizona Online
- Cheryl Cuillier - Open Education Librarian, University Libraries
Additionally, the team thanks Dr. Gerry Hanley, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Technology Services at California State University, and the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions ◥ team for their support in the creation and planning of the UA Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative.
1 Inside Higher Ed “Study: High Textbook Prices Lead to Poor Grades”
2 U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market”