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University of Kentucky faculty who would like to replace a traditional textbook with alternative course content in the academic year 2023-24 are welcome to submit a proposal to UK Libraries’ Alternative Textbook Grant Program. The grants will support adoption, adaptation or revision of existing open textbooks and creation of new course content. The deadline to apply to March 31.

UK Libraries has held seven rounds of the Alternative Textbook Grant Program from 2016 to 2022. Sixty-nine grants have been awarded by August 2022 with a total enrollment exceeding 12,000 students and a cumulative estimated savings of over $1.54 million for the enrolled students. In other words, each student saved about $124 on average thanks to the use of alternative course content in place of traditional textbooks. 

The Alternative Textbook Grant Program offers three tracks for applicants to consider. A successful proposal for adopting or adapting existing open textbooks, free online content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources will be awarded a grant of $1,500.  A new category has been added for those who would like to revise their textbook which was previously funded through the Alternative Textbook Grant Program. Each successful applicant in this category will receive a grant of $1,500. For the creation of new open course content (with at least 50% of the content being original and newly created), a $2,500 grant will be awarded to an accepted proposal.

Grant recipients have been appreciative of the program because it enables timely and equitable access to learning materials while reducing the costs of education. Watch a video to hear two grantees’ comments and recommendations for the program here.

"We are excited to continue to support the efforts of UK faculty to make course content more affordable through the adoption, adaption, and creation of open educational resources,” said Ben Rawlins, UK Libraries associate dean for outreach, engagement and collection. “These resources are beneficial because they are openly licensed, which allows for revisions and adaptation to fit the instructional needs of faculty. These resources can also help reduce the cost barrier for students and can lead to increases in student success and retention."

To learn more about open education programs like this one, visit the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL)’s “Affordable Learning Kentucky” website. More information can be found on the site about Open Education Week, an annual event celebrating accessibility for educational materials in postsecondary education. This year’s Open Education Week will be held March 6-10 and will feature several virtual lunch and learn events hosted by the Kentucky Virtual Library. To register for an event, click here

Proposals for the Alternative Textbook Grant Program must be submitted via this online form by March 31, 2023. All applicants will be notified of the results in early summer of 2023. After teaching this specified course with an alternative textbook, each grant recipient is required to submit a description of the outcomes and an evaluation of their experience with the program. 

More details about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program are available online. Interested faculty can also contact UK Libraries Coordinator of Digital Scholarship and subject specialist for history Jennifer Hootman for more information.

For additional instructional support services and resources available at UK Libraries, visit