Buffalo State kicks off ALMI award program

Joseph Morganti, Staff Writer

SUNY Buffalo State held a kick-off workshop for the Affordable Learning Materials Initiative (ALMI) early in February, and recently announced an ALMI award program.

The ALMI was created to help students who were struggling with the cost of textbooks.

And the new award program was put into effect to encourage faculty to find quality or low-cost course content that can substitute for more costly textbooks. This program encourages professors to utilize Open Educational Resources (OER) in their classrooms.

The ALMI can also showcase the use of campus library resources for course materials, organize tools for faculty to customize and author course content, provide easy access to information about usability of e-readers, help faculty be recognized for quality teaching and efforts to reduce costs, enable faculty to share best practices for using low-cost digital and print content in courses, and support the campus Affordable Learning Solutions strategies and initiatives.

In a recent survey conducted by the college, 76 percent of Buffalo State students said they have not purchased a textbook at some point because of cost. The main mission of ALMI is to increase access to high quality, low cost learning materials for all students at Buffalo State.

“I never heard of the Affordable Learning Materials Initiative, but anything that could potentially lower the costs of textbooks is okay in my mind,” said Duy Van, Buffalo State sophomore.

According to the College Board, an average full-time college student at a four-year school spends about $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies. This cost is additional to tuition and fees, room and board, as well as transportation and other expenses.

“It’s hard for a lot of my friends to go to school when they have to pay over a hundred dollars for a book they end up barely even using,” Van said. “It’s hard to judge if we should even buy a textbook or not since the classes sometimes don’t even use them at all, where as some classes use them a lot.”

A survey conducted by the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in 2014 showed that 40 percent of students use their textbook a few times throughout the semester. 20 percent of students never used the textbook they purchased.

“I try to not buy a textbook unless I absolutely have to,” said Tom Balbierz, Buffalo State junior. “Most classes barely even use them, so I find it extremely unnecessary to buy a book I’ll barely use at a ridiculous price.”

The ALMI and the Provost’s Office plan on continuing to help students with cost of textbooks and supplies so that students have the tools necessary to succeed beyond this semester.

“If the Affordable Learning Materials Initiative can truly help with the cost of textbooks, then I would be inclined to buy textbooks more often,” Balbierz said. “It would also cause me to read more from college textbooks, and evidently learn more.”

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