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Private Academic Library Network of Indiana’s Affordable Education Initiative Garners Support from Lilly Endowment

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded $520,000 to the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) for PALSave, an affordable education initiative that will combat rising textbook costs and their detrimental effects on student success and retention.

PALSave logo

“The PALSave program will provide education and funding support to the faculty of the 24 private Indiana colleges, universities, and seminaries to adopt, adapt, and create affordable learning materials,” said Kirsten Leonard, Executive Director of PALNI. “The five-year funding from Lilly Endowment will enable PALNI to make a real difference to student success and reduce debt by supporting the implementation of course materials that are free to students and customizable by faculty.”

The average cost of textbooks annually is about $1,300. While only a portion of the overall price for college, the cost of textbooks can have a negative effect on student success.  Research from The Student Public Interest Research Groups and U.S. PIRG Education Fund shows that some students have to borrow more to pay for college, are likely not to buy required materials at some point, and might even drop a class because of text prices. PALNI is pleased to offer the PALSave program in response to this need and to help provide a proactive solution to textbook affordability. The grant will enable PALNI to support course transformations using course materials which are free to students, focusing on Open Educational Resources (OER) worldwide. OER are openly licensed and fully customizable course materials.

Amanda Hurford, PALNI’s Scholarly Communications Director and project lead states, “Recent research demonstrates that students provided with open course materials show improved academic outcomes and retention. By providing faculty education about affordable course material options, and offering support and incentives to implement them, we envision a big impact on student success and savings.”

The project will develop expertise, tools, and content to be used in the course redesign process, and also build community around affordable learning within the twenty-four PALNI-supported institutions. This collaborative structure between faculty, instructional technologists, librarians, and institutions will allow for innovation and rapid growth over the five-year program. In addition, Ms. Hurford is sharing PALNI’s work with two regional groups, the Academic Libraries of Indiana and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Progress and impact will be provided and updated on the PALSave website.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders' wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at the Lilly Endowment Inc. website.

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)

PALNI is a non-profit organization supporting collaboration for library and information services to the libraries of its twenty-four supported institutions. Over time, the library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board have adjusted the organization's strategic direction as the internet and information services landscape have changed. PALNI has expanded beyond providing a resource management system to sharing expertise in many areas including strategic planning, reference, information fluency, outreach, data management and configuration, and has identified greater collaboration in acquisitions as a key goal. Visit the PALNI website.

PALNI Supported Institutions

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary | Ancilla College | Anderson University | Bethel University | Butler University | Concordia Theological Seminary | Christian Theological Seminary | DePauw University | Earlham College | Franklin College | Goshen College | Grace College | Hanover College | Huntington University | Manchester University | Marian University | Oakland City University | University of Saint Francis | Saint Mary's College | Saint Meinrad's Seminary and School of Theology | Taylor University | Trine University | University of Indianapolis | Wabash College