A statewide policy intended to lower the cost of courses might not be as helpful as first imagined.
The Affordable Education Resources (AER) includes a policy that states the total cost of materials for an AER course must be $29 or less. This policy won’t be required by the state until Fall 2021, but LSU decided to implement this policy beginning of the Spring 2021 semester.
For professors, this policy can make finding suitable class materials harder. LSU History Department Chair and professor, Aaron Sheehan-Dean expresses how difficult it can be for some courses to abide by the AER guidelines while still staying in-line with the curriculum.
“History like most humanities is a book heavy course, and so that's how we do our work," he says. "Certainly for upper division history classes, I might assign five or six books for students to read, because that's what they need in order to accomplish the course."
While Professor Sheehan-Dean thinks that AER courses can be useful for some courses, he feels that there are better ways to decrease overall costs for students. He says that he mostly hears students complain about fees that accompany tuition more than textbook costs.
“I don't think that setting arbitrary limits on how much a course should cost is a very effective way to help our students.”
Professor Sheehan-Dean hopes that over time professors and students will benefit from AER courses.