For Faculty 

Are you looking to make your class more accessible to students from different socioeconomic backgrounds? It is not unusual for students to make decisions about classes and majors based on the costs associated with that path through Smith. You can interrupt this cycle by making textbooks and supplies free or at least more affordable for your students.


Make clear in your course description if  textbooks are not required, are low cost, or that you are committed to giving students access to class resources in other ways. If you are using textbooks, list where they are on reserve and the call number. If you have extra textbooks or supplies for students who need them, or if there are other ways to access class resources make this clear on the first day of class and in the syllabus.


Avoid using textbooks or if textbooks are required, use older versions which are less expensive.  If your class absolutely requires an expensive textbook, there are many creative ways to make this material more accessible for your students. Examples include:
  • Use open source or online materials
  • Allow students to use older versions of textbooks
  • Lend textbooks to students for free for the semester
  • Place extra books on reserve in the library and in other prominent locations
  • In STEM classes, copy the full text of problems rather than refering to the problem number in the textbook


Many professors have extra supplies for various reasons. Be willing to make these resources accessible to students. Try not to require supplies unless you know they will be used frequently.

Faculty across campus are already implementing ways to make their classes more affordable for students. Here are some examples:
IDP 316
PHY 117
SPA 261

[Critical] Design Thinking Studio

Intro Physics

Latin American Literature

Each student automatically has a textbook on reserve in the library, which they can check out at the beginning of the semester and return at the end of the semester.

No books assigned. Each student purchased a $20 bound copy of the readings for the course at Paradise Copies in Downtown Northampton. Although this still requires students to front money (which not all students are able to do), it makes the cost lower than requiring many different books to be bought.

This class purposefully does not require students to purchase reading materials or supplies. All readings can be found for free and are posted on the class website.
SWG 100
EGR 270
EGR 374


Fluid Mechanics

Issues In Queer Studies

Two textbooks are used in this class, but both are on reserve in the classroom where lectures are given. Students have 24 hour access to the space and these textbooks.

All readings, video, and other media is situated on the class moodle page and is easily available at any time for all students.

This class uses an older version of the current textbook, which decreases the price of the textbook from $100 to $10.