UNF Affordability Counts Initiative
Our students face significant financial responsibilities as they consider funding their university experience. One way faculty can help reduce that financial burden is by adopting low-cost instructional materials. To raise awareness and increase the use of low-cost instructional materials, UNF partners in Affordability Counts, a statewide initiative that recognizes faculty throughout the state who adopt low-cost materials. This initiative supports UNF's effort to improve on Performance-Based Funding Metric #3.
To support this statewide effort, affordabilitycounts.org was established as a one-stop online resource where educators statewide can share low-cost solutions. The website features a searchable statewide low-cost course listing with each course’s low-cost materials, which other faculty can adopt as their own.
View list of faculty and courses that have been awarded the Affordability Counts medallion at UNF.
In addition to the overarching goal of lowering costs for students, this initiative aims to:
- Provide a functional framework for other institutions to enact low-cost initiatives.
- Partner with sister institutions to drive down the overall costs of student’s learning materials.
- Provide access to an expanding catalog of low-cost materials for a more seamless adoption.
Why Commit to Low-Cost
In addition to lowering costs for students, another goal of this initiative is to provide access to an expanding catalog of low-cost textbooks and course materials for a more seamless adoption. Visit Affordability Counts Learn for a list of free and low-cost textbooks, Open Educational Resources (OER), state and local open textbook initiatives, self-publishing options, and additional resources.
How Does It Work
To work towards reducing the overall cost of student’s learning materials, UNF faculty members teaching courses with required materials costing students no more than $20/credit in total out-of-pocket expenses (includes courses that cost $0) are encouraged to submit their courses to receive the Affordability Counts medallion and be recognized statewide for their efforts to promote access and increase savings for students.
To be eligible for an AC medallion:
- Courses submitted for Affordability Counts must meet all criteria.
- The total cost of required materials is determined based on a hardcopy (new) or digital (purchase or rental) price.
- Instructors must submit course textbook adoptions via the bookstore Discover textbook adoption tool. This serves as an accurate picture of the cost of course materials and being aligned with the BOG performance metrics on cost-to-degree. Courses that use no textbooks and/or OER must be entered as such in the adoption tool, or the course will appear “missing” in terms of adoption compliance and not eligible for the Affordability Counts medallion.
Note: 0-credit hour courses are not eligible.
Receiving the AC Medallion
Step 1: Visit the Affordability Counts website and submit your course. You must provide all the required information, which includes identifying all required course materials. Upon submission, you will receive an email confirmation from the AC website, and at that point, you are done with your part.
A few tips concerning the course submission form:
- Phone number is NOT required; feel free to leave this field blank.
- There is a field where you are asked to list course materials available in your course. At a minimum, you should list all required materials with ISBN's and/or provide links to any required e-books that students can access without a login (e.g., openstax). If your course contains many links to other external resources (articles, YouTube videos, webpages, etc.) and it's too much to list them all, briefly state which types of resources are in your course and list a few. Note: If your course does not require any course materials, you can press the (-) button to remove this field.
- There is also a required field for you to certify that your course does not feature the misuse of copyrighted content. A few clear examples of misuse of copyrighted materials include posting PDFs or other documents of journal articles and/or partial/whole pages from textbooks or streaming unlicensed audio/video directly from your course in Canvas. In most cases, links to source materials rather than uploading them directly into your course will avoid copyright infringements.
- Please upload a copy of your course syllabus.
Step 2: Your submission gets verified to determine whether your course meets the criteria and is also submitted via the UNF bookstore Discover textbook adoption tool. After it is verified, your submission will be forwarded to the AC Committee for a final recommendation (approved or not approved).
Step 3: If your course is approved, you will receive a confirmation email from UNF Online that includes the Affordability Counts medallion (shown right), which you can display in your course. You will also receive an email confirmation from affordabilitycounts.org that your course has been approved and added to the low-cost course listing. From start to finish, this process usually takes less than two weeks.
Displaying the AC Medallion
The Affordability Counts medallion can be displayed in your course indefinitely so long as the total out-of-pocket expense to students does not exceed $20/credit. Our recommendation is to insert the medallion in your Syllabus and at the bottom of your course homepage. If you need assistance adding the medallion to your course, please contact Course Media Developer Audrey Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: If the total cost of required course materials increases to more than $20/credit, please remove the medallion from your course and kindly send an email to email@example.com.
The following members are charged with the oversight or course submissions and implementation of the AC Initiative:
- Marianne Jaffee, Provost’s Office
- Deb Miller, Academic Affairs
- Abby Willcox, Institutional Research
- Kiersten Geloneck, Bookstore
- Tom Caswell, Carpenter Library
- Susan Perez, Associate Dean, COAS
- Kevin Hulen, UNF Online (AC Institutional Admin)
Thank You For Making It Count
Since joining this statewide initiative in Summer 2019, 207 UNF faculty have participated, resulting in 434 courses awarded the Affordability Counts medallion for a combined average cost of required course materials at $4/credit hour. Thanks for your commitment to lowering educational costs for students.
Figure 1. Horizontal bar chart displays the count of courses in each college awarded an AC medallion.
Figure 2. Vertical bar chart displays the average cost of required materials per credit hour for courses awarded an AC medallion in each college.
Figure 3. Horizontal bar chart displays the Top-10 departments with courses awarded an AC medallion.
For more information about Affordability Counts, visit Affordability Counts FAQs or contact Kevin Hulen (UNF Online) firstname.lastname@example.org.