It is not only tuition but the total student budget – including fees, room and board, and books and supplies – that can serve as a barrier to low-income student enrollment and success. One area that many institutions have recently focused on to help alleviate this burden is providing Affordable Learning Materials (ALM). Open Educational Resources (OER) is an increasingly popular form of ALM where learning materials are copyrighted to be available in the public domain.
The APLU Powered by Publics High Pell Cluster (Cluster 11) consists of eight institutions enrolling large numbers of Pell recipients that share a commitment to increasing the success of under-resourced students. Within this cluster, the Affordable Learning Materials (ALM) subgroup focuses on developing scalable practices that ensure students have equitable access to learning materials needed for academic success (the cluster’s other two core priorities are financial wellness and gateway course success).
The ALM subgroup of four institutions has met regularly since 2018 to identify promising Open Educational Resources (OER) practices, both at their own institutions and in the literature, to “ensure students have equitable access to learning materials that are needed for them to succeed in their academic pursuits.”
This brief summarizes activities from the ALM subgroup, including findings from a faculty survey distributed to the subgroup of institutions, examples of ALM practices on each campus, considerations for ALM moving forward as identified through subgroup meetings, and finally, resources compiled by the institutions.