Registrar: No-Cost and Low-Cost

Designators for Required Materials in USG Course Schedules

In Fall 2018, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions will be required to prominently designate sections of course whose course materials exclusively consist of no-cost (open or free textbooks) or low-cost course materials at the point of registration. In Banner, USG institutions will use 2 designations for courses with:

No-cost: NoCost $0 required textbooks
Low-cost: LowCost $40 or under required textbooks

Included in the cost caps are textbooks and other text-based materials, workbooks, lab manuals, online homework platforms, and codes or publisher- provided curricular materials for students.

Excluded from the cost caps are equipment (such as art supplies, calculators, or physical lab materials) and fees for test proctoring.

Schedule of Classes and Designation

  • Classes that do not meet one of these two cost caps will not be designated.
  • The designator will be entered in the schedule of classes during schedule building.
  • Changes to these designations CAN NOT be made once the schedule of classes is made public.

No-cost Designator

The No-cost designator is for use with courses that exclusively use course materials that are free of charge to students. These materials may include open educational resources (OER), institutionally licensed campus library materials that all students enrolled in the course have access to use, and other materials that require no additional cost to students.

Open educational resources (OER) are high-quality teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license, such as a Creative Commons license, that permits their free use and repurposing by others, and may include other resources that are legally available and free of cost to students. OER include, but are not limited to: full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, faculty-created content, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Low-cost Designator 

The Lo-cost designator is for use with courses that require course materials which cost students a total of $40 or less per course.  If there are more than one items, the sum of the whole package would need to exceed $40 to be considered Low-cost. 

Assessing Your Materials for No-Cost and Low-Cost 

  • Optional costs should not be included in your calculation; such as online versions of materials that would have the option of purchasing materials in print.
  • If a resource is used across multiple courses in a sequence, DO NOT base the calculation on the cost divided by those terms.
  • Use the cost of new materials in your campus bookstore. While materials may be less expensive on Amazon or elsewhere, students using financial aid often must purchase materials from the university bookstore. Always contact your university bookstore for help with bookstore pricing.
  • If your required text is available as a free-to-students e-book through the library, as long as you do not require the printed text in your class, your course can qualify for the $0 cost designation.
  • If you do not require any texts or commercial materials for your class, your course CAN quality for the $0 designation.
  • If you are unsure about the cost of materials, consult the university bookstore for guidance.
  • If you are unsure about any of the costs of materials, DO NOT designate your course as either option.

How to Calculate and Assess Your No Cost/Low Cost Materials

Optional costs should not be included in your calculation. 

For example: If you provide students with a link to a free, online version of your materials but give them the option to purchase materials in print or point them to an optional homework help platform. The cost of the optional materials should not be included in your calculation. However, if the print version or homework platform is required in your class, you should include that cost in your calculation.

Only identify courses that meet these cost-cap requirements (“$0” or “$40 or under”)

By default, classes that do not meet one of these two cost caps will not be designated. Students will have the ability to search for courses that meet one of these two material costs caps in the schedule.

If a resource is 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 three sequenced courses DOES NOT meet the $40 or under 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, and students would have to pay the full cost up-front and could not budget for three even payments.

What cost should I use? What if materials are less expensive on Amazon, etc.?

To calculate your text-related costs for these designations, use the cost of new materials in your campus bookstore. While materials may be less expensive elsewhere, students using financial aid often must purchase materials from the bookstore, and while used prices might be lower, used purchasing can be complicated by limited supplies and edition changes. Contact your campus bookstore for help with bookstore pricing.

What if my text is available as an e-book through the library? +

If your required text is available as an eBook through the library, consider making the required text optional in your course. The KSU Library System does not purchase textbooks in physical or electronic format assigned by faculty for academic courses. eBooks purchased for the library collection are typically accessible to a single user at a time and students may experience a turn-away as they wait for access to the eBook. If you wish to add freely-available eBooks as required text, the KSU Library System recommends open access resources such as OER Commons, Google Books, HathiTrust Digital Library, or Project Gutenburg.

What if I do not require any texts or commercial materials for my class?

Your course CAN quality for the $0 designation if no commercial materials or texts are required. For the purposes of these cost designations, it does not matter if you are using instructor-created materials, open educational resources, activities, slides, websites, or library materials. Apply the question: does my course have any textbook or publisher-related costs? If the answer if no, the course meets the no-cost designation. If the answer is yes, but $40 or less, the course meets the low-cost designation.

What if I am unsure about the cost of my materials?

Consult your bookstore for guidance. If you are still unsure about whether your course meets one of the two designations at the registration deadline, DO NOT designate your course as either option.

For more information about No-Cost and Low-Cost Designators for Required Materials in USG Course Schedules visit the Enollment FAQ's.

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