Chancellor Zimpher Announces Affordable Learning Solutions Rollout As Part of International Open Access Week

October 23, 2014

Affordable Learning Solutions Website Makes it Easier for Students, Faculty to Locate Free Open Content

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that, in recognition of International Open Access Week and as part of the system’s first-year rollout of Open SUNY, students and faculty across the system would have access to a new Open SUNY Affordable Learning Solutions website that will make it easier for them to locate free open content such as textbooks and online courses by making them all available in one place.

Chancellor Zimpher encouraged campus faculty to incorporate Affordable Learning Solutions resources – available at – into their curricula where possible in order to cut costs for students. Open SUNY Affordable Learning Solutions is meant to be used in conjunction with textbook rental and buy-back programs offered at campus bookstores. 

“Twenty-three percent of college students nationally take classes without purchasing the required textbooks because they are too expensive. We never want that to be the case at SUNY, and with the introduction of Affordable Learning Solutions, it doesn’t have to be,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “In addition to saving students money by offering content free of charge, this new resource incorporates flexible teaching and learning practices that contribute to student success.”

In addition to open textbooks, there are hundreds of high-quality open courses, MOOCs, and other learning materials available in the Affordable Learning Solutions repository that come with Creative Commons licenses, which enable faculty to customize the content to fit in with their own materials and curricula.

“Faculty now have many options to utilize open content to improve teaching and learning while, at the same time, lowering the costs of higher education for our students,” said Carey Hatch, associate provost for Academic Technology and Information Services. “With nearly 460,000 students, SUNY has the ability to collectively save our students millions of dollars per year through the adoption of open education resources.”

The Affordable Learning Solutions website is comprised of the following resources, all available by online search at

  • Open SUNY Textbooks, an open access textbook publishing initiative established by the libraries of SUNY Geneseo, Brockport, the College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Fredonia, Upstate Medical University, and the University at Buffalo. Currently, there are seven Open SUNY Textbooks in publication and 15 more in process. In the Spring 2014 semester, 185 students saved a total of more than $15,000 using Open SUNY Textbooks.
  • Tompkins Cortland Community College is one of eight colleges nationally participating in the Kaleidoscope Project, which built 20 open courses. At TC3 from 2011-2013, nearly 700 students saved an estimated $700,000 on textbook costs as a result of the project. The college also saw a 26.7 percent increase in passing grades accompanied by a 15 decrease in withdrawal rates in the psychology courses developed by Kaleidoscope.
  • Open SUNY MOOCs. Empire State College was one of the first institutions in the United States to offer a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and SUNY was one of 10 public university systems to launch an agreement with Coursera, enabling the use of the Coursera platform to deliver MOOCs.
    • Locating, Creating, Licensing and Utilizing OERs (OER-101).An open, self-paced online community course built collaboratively by professionals from SUNY Buffalo State College, Empire State College, and SUNY Oswego, and powered by Open SUNY.
    • Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, (MERLOT). A collection of tens of thousands of discipline-specific open textbooks, courses, learning materials, and learning exercises. All the materials in MERLOT are reviewed for suitability for retention in the collection and when accepted receive peer-review and ratings. Anyone can search, retrieve, and use these materials. MERLOT currently offers 3,467 open textbooks encompassing a broad range of academic disciplines.


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications