Textbook Affordability at Ball State

Textbook affordability (TABS) provides benefits to students and faculty and is consistent with Ball State’s commitment to inclusive excellence in the following ways:

  • Making education more accessible, equitable, and sustainable
  • Ensuring first-day readiness
  • Improving student engagement since they have what they need on Day 1
  • Enhancing student and faculty experiences
  • Increasing satisfaction and well-being for students in their educational journeys

TABS is part of the affordable education movement across the country, an important effort to reduce costs and remove barriers for student access to course learning materials. At Ball State we define textbook affordability as $40 or less per course. Affordability can be achieved through use of Open Educational Resources, low-cost textbook alternatives, or use of library services and resources.

Student sitting in library.

Impact on Students


Textbook costs are the largest barrier to student success and TABS virtually eliminates this hurdle from the equation.


Affordable, accessible course materials ensure that students can prepare for learning from day 1.


Students who have what they need to prepare are more engaged with course material and come to class ready to learn.


When education is more accessible, students are more likely to achieve educational success in other courses, as well.

How Open Educational Resources Helps Students

In a national survey, students identified their top barriers to a post-secondary education. These were their responses:

  • 32% said cost of living affected their ability to pursue a college degree.
  • 31% said cost of tuition and course materials, including books, stood in their way.
  • 49% identified BOTH cost of living and cost of tuition and materials together were both barriers that affected their choices.
    Source: Cengage Group

Faculty Share How Students Benefit From Open Educational Resources

What Are the Benefits of a More Affordable Education?

An expansive research project conducted at the University of Georgia has revealed that students granted free or low-cost course materials achieved higher academic results than students who paid full price. The study also revealed that a greater percentage of students earned As and the DFW rate fell.

The study also indicated that the use of Open Educational Resources had a beneficial effect on faculty as well. Faculty can have more ownership over their courses and curriculum. They have more control over the development of course materials and can grant students much-needed aid. Faculty are also pleasantly surprised by students’ preparedness for their courses, from day 1.


Work With Us

Textbook Affordability at Ball State (TABS) is looking for faculty interested in joining the mission. Our Working Group is available to guide you through the process. You can also explore our toolkit of helpful resources for creating your own course with open-source materials.

The TABS Working Group:

Contact Us