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The Cougars Affordable Learning Materials Program (CALM) is part of the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions initiative started in 2010. CALM aims to aid faculty in replacing costly textbooks with lower cost alternatives by using high-quality, open education


The Cougars Affordable Learning Materials Project (CALM) is part of the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions initiative started in 2010. CALM aims to aid faculty in replacing costly textbooks with lower cost alternatives by using high-quality open educational resources (OER), library materials, digital or customized textbooks, and/or faculty-authored materials.  As of fall 2023,  participating faculty have saved our students over 11.6 MILLION DOLLARS by adopting open or lower-cost course materials!

What is CALM?

CALM, which stands for Cougars Affordable Learning Solutions​, is CSUSM's Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) program. This program encourages CSUSM faculty to utilize low- to no-cost accessible textbooks for their courses rather than the expensive alternatives, meaning CSUSM students and faculty can spend less money on textbooks through greater access to quality free and low cost learning materials!​

Finding new materials for a course can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it doesn't have to be

Why Should I CALM My Course? (Faculty)

Many of our students are struggling to make ends meet, juggling work and family responsibilities in addition to their course load. Anything we can do to help reduce the cost of their education will support their well-being and academic success. Your participation is essential to the success of this effort.  

  • Textbook costs are cited as one of the top two reasons students drop out or don’t matriculate.
  • Almost a quarter of CSUSM students surveyed said they could not afford to purchase all their texts at the start of the semester, putting them at a greater risk of withdrawing or doing poorly in a class.  
  • The cost of textbooks negatively impacts first generation students more than other students. They spend 17% more per textbook but acquire 6% fewer texts.
  • Busy students need and appreciate cost and format choices (online content, ebooks, print), with affordability and ease of access being key factors.

Purchasing textbooks is stressful and expensive, and can directly affect your success in your classes, but it doesn't have to be this way

Why Should I Take a CALMed Course? (Students)

Taking a course that has been CALMed helps reduce the cost of your education will supports your well-being and academic success. The faculty members that CALM their course have taken the time and effort it takes to locate low or no cost materials that will provide you with the resources you need to succeed at a rate that is significantly lower than the average textbook. 


Quote: "When I am registering for classes, I prioritize textbook prices over my interest in the course. I've had to drop courses that I was really interested in because I could not find an option I could afford. I think I would have a more fulfilling education if textbook requirements were affordable because that would allow me to take the courses that I really want to take!"  -CSUSM Psychology Major


CALM Goals


   CALM Goal 2: Improve Textbook Reporting   CALM Goal 3: Raise Awareness






CALM Strategies


CALM Strategy:Textbook Affordability Week      CALM Strategy:Meet with Faculty Departments      CALM Strategy: Improve CALM Website


Learn More

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