PALNI's Affordable Learning Initiative
Supported by a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, PALSave supports student success and retention by fostering the use of Open Educational Resources (OER). It provides collaborative resources and a framework for OER awareness, education, and engagement. In addition, it funds and supports faculty adoptions of affordable learning materials to enhance the teaching and learning missions of private higher education in Indiana.
Scroll to the bottom of the homepage to meet our team. This team started in 2018, after PALNI’s Affordable Education Initiatives Task Force completed an environmental scan of peer programs, resulting in a preliminary project plan identifying components for future work.
The academic landscape is growing more difficult with escalating financial pressures, yet colleges and universities must continue to provide excellent services and resources. Especially for private institutions, there is a need to be cost-sensitive in order to recruit and retain students. According to College Tuition Compare, the average cost to attend private college in Indiana is $22,434 for the academic year 2022-2023, which includes about $1,100 for textbooks.
The cost problem is not only significant, but growing at an alarming rate: student loan debt has increased nearly 40% in the last decade, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of textbooks has increased by 7% since 2020. Moreover, costs of traditional educational materials is found to have a negative effect on student performance and retention.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are one solution to help alleviate this pressure. They are freely available materials, openly licensed for reuse, remixing, and redistribution at no cost to educators and students. The leading provider of open textbooks, OpenStax out of Rice University, reports savings of $1.8 billion and counting. Also, our studies have found that courses that use OER result in positive student perceptions and increased retention, with equivalent or improved learning outcomes.
Although faculty awareness of open educational resources has increased over the years, the adoption of OER, unfortunately, remains flat. These facts make evident the need for an affordable education materials initiative, and highlight an opportunity for the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) to help.