Textbook Equity

Ensuring equitable access for all students

The UNIFI program encourages faculty to learn more about the Textbook Equity Initiative on campus. Ensuring equitable access to course materials is a key way to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success at UNI. The campuswide Textbook Equity Initiative aims to ensure that all UNI students have access to high-quality course materials that are affordable, accessible, and inclusive.

This is important because UNI students (n=688) report, in keeping with national data, that textbook costs cause academic problems. For example, 29% of students reported changing sections or avoiding a specific course or section altogether due to textbook costs. In addition, 23% reported earning a poor or failing grade due to textbook costs, and 19% dropped a course or took fewer courses due to textbook costs. We also know that purchase avoidance is common, with 48% of respondents indicating they avoided purchase of required texts.

Transitioning to free course materials can reduce course withdrawal rates by up to 30% (Clinton & Kahn, 2019; n=78,000). Pell-eligible, part time, non-white, & international students benefit the most (Colvard, Watson & Park, 2018; Delgado, Delgado & Hilton, 2019).

UNI faculty are encouraged to:

  • Explore options for free/affordable textbooks and make these a first choice.
  • Select materials that are available to students long-term, which can aid in connecting learning between courses and beyond.
  • Select materials that are available in multiple formats to aid in accessibility and offline use.
  • Ensure homework assignments can be completed without additional cost.
  • Modify openly-licensed materials to meet local and campus needs and to ensure inclusive representation.

Rod Library services for faculty related to Textbook Equity:

  • Support for locating, evaluating, and selecting free/affordable and inclusive materials. 
  • To receive a customized list of free/affordable resources matching your course content, fill out the short form requesting a Course Materials Affordability Review.
  • Support and software for creating and sharing new course materials, including entire free textbooks.
  • Support and software for modifying and sharing existing openly-licensed materials.
  • Assistance with understanding licensing options and copyright/fair use considerations for course materials.
  • Assistance making a case for textbook equity work to be included in faculty promotion/tenure/evaluation.