May 18, 2022

New Jersey: Rutgers, NJIT Neutralizing Sticker Shock with Textbook Alternatives


Students at Rutgers University spend an average of $1,500 annually just on their course materials, according to data from the independent New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.

2019-01-07_10-55-36That prompted the creation of the Open and Affordable Textbooks Program, through which the Rutgers University Library System awards grants to campus faculty members to cover the costs of textbooks for students.

The program, Rutgers said, has assisted more than 11,000 students on its three campuses and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, saving them $2.1 million since 2016.


Krisellen Maloney, vice president for information services and university librarian at Rutgers, launched the OAT initiative.

“Rutgers President Robert Barchi said he wanted it to happen,” Maloney said. “ … The rollout went much better than I expected. We had more submissions than we could fund.”


Other institutions are also taking steps to lessen the financial burden on their students. Faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology use open educational resources to complement traditional resources such as textbooks, said Ann Hoang, NJIT’s university librarian.

Open educational resources are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media and other digital assets that can be used for teaching, learning and research purposes.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.