This incentive program is funded by a single $10 fee paid by students when they enroll in a course that uses no-cost, open or alternative educational resources rather than traditional, commercial textbooks. There must be no other cost to students for textbooks or resources for the course to qualify for the program, although other lab and program fees may still apply. Faculty/instructors who are awarded grants from the Open/Alternative Textbook Grant Program (see below) automatically qualify to have their course designated as an OAT course when their open or alternative resources are ready to be implemented.

Course Fee Assessment and Disbursement

The incentive funding generated by the OAT course fee will be distributed at the end of each semester. 60% will go to the department offering the course and can be used by the department in a way that best supports the program, course, or faculty member in the department chair’s judgement. 40% of the course fee revenue will be used to fund future grants in the Open/Alternative Textbook Grant program. For example, if 100 students pay the course fee for one course, then $600 will go back to that faculty/instructor's department and $400 will go to the grant program.

The fee is assessed with other fees when a student registers for the class. It will be fully refundable within the standard withdrawal window. In order to promote transparency, a summary of these dispersements will be provided each semester.

How does it work?

Faculty/instructors interested in having their course designated as an Open/Alternative Textbook (OAT) course will need to show they exclusively use no-cost educational resources.

The designation can be applied to one or multiple sections of the same course. A proposed course may include any of the following, or a combination:

  • An existing open access textbook (see Resources to Find Open Textbooks below)
  • Library resources
  • High quality Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Multimedia resources (e.g., audio, video, TedTalks, YouTube videos, Wikimedia Commons)
  • Faculty-authored materials (e.g., websites, PDFs, educational presentation slides, lecture videos)

To qualify as an Open/Alternative Textbook (OAT) course:

  • The course must be one that needs course materials.
  • The development of these materials should reduce the cost of textbooks and materials in the class to $0.
  • The open/alternative resource must be approved by the Open/Alternative Textbook Program review panel.
  • The course or course section (if only the lecture uses the resource for example) must not require or recommend any course materials that students have to purchase.

Courses will not be eligible if they include:

  • commercial e-text versions of existing print resources
  • textbook rentals