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Parameters for Low-Cost Course Materials Designation

To be more forthright and encompassing to our students, we also advocate replacing the word “textbook” with “course materials”.

Definition: Low-cost Designator
The Low-cost designator is for use with courses that require course materials which cost students a total of $50 or less per course.

50 Dollars or Less Course Materials
The total cost of all required course materials purchased at the YC bookstore is $50 or less, whether new or used or purchased or rented or any combination thereof.

How are $50 or less course materials course designations determined?

Included: All required textbooks, course packs, and other text-based materials, workbooks, software, lab manuals, lab kits, online homework platforms, access codes and other publisher-provided curricular materials.

Excluded: Art supplies, calculators or other equipment, and any course fees. Also excluded are optional texts that students are not required to purchase for your course section.

Optional costs are not included. For example: you provide students with a link to a free, online version of your materials but give them the option to purchase printed versions. The optional cost of printing these materials is not included in your calculation. However, if the print version is required in your class, it will be included.

If course materials are used across multiple courses in a sequence DO NOT base your calculation on the cost divided by those courses. For example, a text that costs $120 that is required for 3 sequenced courses DOES NOT meet the 50 Dollars or Less label requirement. Not all students take all courses in a series. Students may take courses over time and may have to pay for edition changes. Students must pay the $120 and cannot budget for 3 even payments.

What prices will be used? What if materials are less expensive on Amazon, etc.? Related costs will be calculated using the price at the YC Bookstore. While materials may be less expensive elsewhere, students may have access to a financial aid voucher that may be used at the YC Bookstore prior to the release of financial aid funds by the college.  

What if my material is available as an e-book through the YC library? If the required material is available as a free-to-students e-book through the YC library, as long as you do not require the printed text in your class, your course can qualify for the Less than $50 designation. However, we strongly recommend that you work with the Library to determine longevity of access to any particular e-book or other electronic media.  

What if I don’t require a textbook or any “outside” materials for my class? Your course CAN qualify for the Less than $50 designation if no “outside” materials or texts are required. It doesn’t matter if you are using instructor-created materials, activities, slides, websites, library materials, etc.