Skip to main content
Banner Image

Alternative Textbooks (Open Educational Resources): Alternative Textbook Program

This guide is about UK Libraries' Alternative Textbook Program. It also provides an overview of free online peer-reviewed textbooks and offers assistance with finding and adapting them for courses.

Alternative Textbook Grant Program

UK Libraries invites faculty to apply for a grant in support of the adoption of an alternative textbook or open course resources as a replacement to traditional commercial textbooks.  Funding will be awarded for 10 grants of up to $1,500 each to provide faculty with support to transition to alternative textbooks, open course resources, or licensed information resources.  Faculty can find such resources by

Ready to apply?  Click here to access the proposal form.  The application deadline is April 29, 2016

Program Objectives:

The Alternative Textbook Grant Program’s aim is first to reduce students’ financial burden of expensive textbooks and second to provide support for faculty members interested in identifying and assigning less costly textbooks, open course resources, or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources.   

According to the College Board, the average student spends $1,298 per year on textbooks and supplies as an in-state/on-campus student at a public four-year university.  New textbooks prices increased by a total of 82 percent from 2002 to 2012.

Studies also indicate the financial burden of expensive textbooks impacts a university student’s ability to purchase required textbooks and therefore their overall success in class.  In the January 2014 Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: How Students Respond to High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives survey, results indicate that “65% of all respondents said that they had decided against buying a textbooks because it was too expensive” and that “[n]early half of all students surveyed said that the cost of textbooks impacted how many/which classes they took each semester.”

UK Libraries is committed to working with faculty to identify and provide access to alternative textbooks and to changing the nature of scholarly communication.  In addition to funding support, UK Libraries’ academic liaisons are available for consultations on identifying alternative textbooks and open course resources.  UK Libraries’ academic liaisons will also work with faculty to provide access to the selected alternative textbook, open course resources, or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources.


All current UK faculty teaching a course in the calendar year 2017 and are currently assigning a commercial textbook.


  • Proposals due back on April 29, 2016
  • Proposals reviewed and grant funding awarded in early FY 16/17

Proposal Application Process:

Alternative Textbook Grant Program proposals should be submitted using an online form.  Faculty will be asked to provide:

  • Course information including course name, number, enrollment, semester(s) offered
  • Information on current textbook(s) including title, cost, available as new, used, rental, print or digital
  • Statement of concern of no more than 500 words stating their interest in identifying alternatives to traditional textbooks and plan to evaluate and select an alternative textbook, open course resource, or UK Libraries’ licensed information resource

Review Procedure and Criteria:

Faculty Senate Library Committee will review the grant proposals.  Criteria to be considered include:

  • Strength of statement of concern
  • Estimated potential savings to students in the course
  • Sustainability beyond the initial semester
  • Ability to use the alternative textbook in 2017

Post-award Requirements:

Award recipients will have to submit a report that describes the new alternative textbook, open course resource, or UK Libraries’ licensed information resource selected, the number of students impacted, estimated student’s savings, and a short evaluation of their experience identifying and implementing the alternative textbook.

Outcomes of program awards to be shared with UK community through various media outlets. 

Alternative Textbook Grant Program Contacts:

Adrian Ho
Director of Digital Scholarship
University of Kentucky Libraries

Mary Beth Thomson
Senior Associate Dean
University of Kentucky Libraries