Choose Open Educational Resources (OER) and No-Cost (NOCOST), Low-Cost (LOWCOST) Options

UMass Lowell faculty and students advocate for increased use of OER (Open Educational Resources) across campus.

UMass Lowell is committed to student success and keeping college education affordable. Faculty can make an impact in this way by choosing no-cost (NOCOST) or low-cost (LOWCOST) options and Open Educational Resources (OER), and by ordering textbooks with enough lead time that students can receive the best pricing when purchasing their books and selling them during the book buyback period.

UMass Lowell’s River Hawk Shop has welcomed Valore Campus as its new management company in July 2023. We are excited about this new partnership and plan to provide an improved buying experience for students.


Questions regarding course materials can be directed to

NOCOST and LOWCOST Course Materials

Course Materials are textbooks, eBooks, websites, software programs, apps, courseware packages, and access codes to homework sites. Course materials are not tools, supplies or auxiliary fees.

We are excited to announce that we will be providing Open Educational Resources (OER) course attributes in SIS that students will be able to view when they register for spring 2024 classes. We know that many students struggle to afford college, no and low-cost course attributes will provide transparency for students and allow them to make decisions based on course materials affordability.

The following course attributes will be used:

  • NOCOST: If all required course materials are no cost ($0) to students. This attribute applies if you don’t have required course materials or if you’re using OER, free, or library resources. The use of library materials as required course materials can only be cited as NOCOST when the library provides access to the material for unlimited simultaneous users.
  • LOWCOST: If all required course materials are $50 or under. This attribute is based upon the pre-tax retail price of any form of the course materials charged at the campus bookstore or by the publisher directly; whichever is lower.

For used, rented and older editions to be included in the LOWCOST designation, students should be able to acquire the course materials for $50 or less either from the bookstore or the publisher directly.

The bookstore/publisher should have sufficient stock for all enrollments.

Prices offered by other third-party vendors such as should not be considered due to price fluctuation and uncertainty of stock availability.

Other Options for NOCOST and LOWCOST Course Materials

The UML Libraries have created a helpful LibGuide offering instructors creative options to assist faculty in finding and choosing many great resources available for their classes - most at no or low-cost to students.
In addition, faculty can place copies of texts and other materials on reserve in the library, preferably two copies, and let students know that these materials are available.

Ordering Deadlines

In order to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, faculty must order textbooks and other required materials in a timely fashion. The following undergraduate/graduate deadlines apply to the regular session and online courses.
  • For Spring - Order by Oct. 15
  • For Fall - Order by May 1


We strive to provide an inclusive environment and access for all students, please keep this in mind when selecting textbooks, digital content, videos, ebooks, and documents. Timely submission of textbook adoptions enables the University to meet its legal requirement to provide students with disabilities an equal educational opportunity to be successful. Web Accessibility and 508 Compliance information is available from Web Services.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell Libraries endeavor to comply with U.S. copyright law and avoid copyright infringement while asserting our rights and the rights of our patrons to fair use of copyrighted materials as provided in U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §107 and §108. The Copyright LibGuide contains information to explain the Copyright Act and fair use.
Junior Montana Heise at the River Hawk Shop Image by K. Webster
The high cost of textbooks has become a flashpoint in the debate over the rising cost of a college education, not only at UMass Lowell, but nationally. In part, that’s because students and their families often don’t realize how much the books will cost until the students arrive on campus, says Julie Nash, vice provost for student success.
UMass Lowell is confronting the problem directly, thanks to a dedicated committee of faculty, staff and students and the cooperation of Follett, the company that runs the campus bookstore, the River Hawk Shop