The Program for Affordable Learning Materials (PALM) is part of the CSU system-wide Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) campaign, which is "designed to enable faculty to choose and provide quality educational content that is more affordable for their students." The mission of this program is to make higher education more accessible to students by promoting the use of high-quality, free and low-cost learning materials: "CSU students typically pay over $800 per year for their books. By reducing their expenses, we believe we can provide better access to a quality CSU learning experience." (AL$)
Since 1978, the cost of textbooks has risen 812%-- over three times the rate of inflation. In a survey by U.S. PIRG, 65% of students admitted to not buying a textbook due to cost. Furthermore, of the students who opted not to buy a textbook due to cost, 94% worried that their grade would suffer because of it. For many, textbook costs are a barrier to academic success.
The current trend to require a textbook's "access code" to unlock further learning materials is directly affecting student's academic performance. A The "access code model" limits student's ability to find free and/or low-cost learning course materials since the code is only accessible for one person for one specific semester. According to the 2016 PIRG report, 32% of courses across the field require textbooks "access codes."