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Affordable Course Materials Initiative


2020 Grants

Overview of the Initiative

The high cost of textbooks is a well-publicized problem for students in higher education. Initial data indicates that one-third of high financial need students at Boston College do not buy any course materials. Actual costs for course materials may be over $1000 per semester, double the maximum allotment from financial aid. In order to address the escalating cost of academic resources the University Libraries and the Center for Teaching Excellence are offering a small grant program to support full-time faculty who revise their curriculum to include high quality affordable materials to support student learning at minimal cost.

The new curriculum resources may be newly-created teaching materials, publicly accessible materials, subscribed resources (from the Boston College Libraries), use of Canvas or Library Reserves to replace a coursepack or any combination of the four.

The Provost has pledged financial support for this initiative and we invite you to help address this issue by engaging in a competitive grant process that will provide grants and the help of a support team to full-time faculty members who adopt a new curricular resource strategy.

Grant Process

The application process for support will be competitive. A limited number of grants will be available.

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Savings per student over the previous course materials and projected number enrolled
  • Preference for courses to be implemented by the following year, at the latest
  • Creation of new publicly accessible materials strengthens the application. Newly created materials must be made publicly accessible in eScholarship@BC and must be offered to the public under a Creative Commons license that allows reuse and creation of derivative works.
  • Strength of the following descriptions in the submitted application form:
    • expected outcomes from the new curriculum,
    • expected challenges of creating/assembling low cost materials,
    • sustainability of the resulting curriculum,
    • planned method of assessing the success of the resulting curricular materials [see two suggested questions below].

Award decisions will be made by a committee with representatives from Boston College faculty, the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and the University Libraries. Award letters will be issued by the Provost and University Librarian.

Assessment Questions

All successful applicants will be expected to ask students to complete an assessment of the materials by answering a survey that the program committee provides. In addition, all instructors who receive grants commit to completing a brief assessment of the support received through the initiative.


The call for proposals will be sent by the Provost in late February.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, the following online workshop is available. Librarians and CTE consultants discuss the following:

  • an overview of the initiative and support available for faculty
  • locating open educational resources
  • copyright and licensing issues
  • accessibility concerns
  • creating a sustainable curriculum
  • managing resources in Canvas
  • assistance with creation of new content

The deadline for grant proposal submission is April 21st, 2020.

Please consider attending one of the following workshops:

March 18; 3-4 pm, O'Neill 413, or join virtually
March 24: 10-11 am, O'Neill 413, or join virtually 
Application Form  [apply here]

Awards will be made in early May.

Preference is given to faculty who plan to implement the new curriculum no later than Spring semester, 2021.

Support for all grantees will be available from subject specialist librarians and from Center for Teaching Excellence staff.



For initial questions about the initiative or the grant application process, please contact Margaret Cohen.