Affordability Counts is an initiative created by Florida International University to recognize faculty who actively take steps to lower student cost of course materials. The initiative is now open to participation by other schools in the State University System, and USF is one of the first schools to join.

Faculty whose total course material costs are at or less than $20 per credit hour can submit their low-cost course for review. A committee will review syllabi and bookstore adoptions to determine if a course meets the requirements – those that do will receive the Affordability Counts medallion to display on their syllabus, Canvas course, or anywhere they’d like! In addition, their course will be included in a state-wide database of low-cost courses.

We believe that Affordability Counts will enhance our efforts to promote awareness of textbook affordability issues and look forward to collaborating.

How the Process Works:

1. The USF Textbook Affordability Project will calculate course costs for every course in the USF System by following the Affordability Counts criterion:

  • The total cost of course materials must be $20 per credit hour or less (e.g., 3-credit courses must not exceed $60).
  • The total cost must cover all required course materials (e.g., textbook, course pack, lab materials).
  • The total cost is determined by what it costs to purchase the course material in new condition.
    • If the course materials are not purchased through the university bookstore, links to purchase must be present on the course overview page and the syllabus.
    • If the course materials have been officially placed on course reserve at the institution’s library and are available at no cost to the student, purchase of these materials is not required to meet the selection criteria.
  • The course cannot have been recognized for the Affordability Counts medallion previously with the same course materials.
  • An example of a course that would meet the Affordability Counts requirements:

2. Once low-cost courses are identified and confirmed by syllabi and recorded bookstore orders, the TAP team will reach out to the faculty and request permission to submit their courses to be included in the Affordability Counts initiative.

3. If the faculty agree, and the course is approved by the Affordability Counts committee, their course will be added to the Affordability Counts database, and they will be provided a digital badge to display on their syllabus or Canvas course.