Affordable College Textbook Act aimed to lower costs of college textbooks
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME) recently introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act to help students manage the rising costs of textbooks.
Costs of new textbooks have increased by 82 percent over the last decade, a rate four times faster than inflation. The College Board reported that the average budget for students' college books and supplies during the academic year of 2014-2015 was $1,225.
The Affordable College Textbook Act would create a competitive grant program to support the use and creation of open licenses for college textbooks. This would grant students, professors, researchers and others easier access to materials. The bill is intended to make costs of textbooks more affordable and easily accessible.
“In the ongoing nationwide debate about the rising cost of college, one of the most basic and direct costs to students is often overlooked: textbooks,” Durbin said. “In 2012, faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign created an open textbook using federal funds that was published electronically for free use. At least a dozen schools throughout the country have contacted the University of Illinois about the text or are using it today. The book was also used in a Massive Open Online Course on Coursera that has been sampled by at least 60,000 students. The Affordable College Textbook Act can replicate and build on the successes we’ve already seen in Illinois."
Similar legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO).
"I hope college faculty throughout the country will explore the opportunities that exist today to use open source materials in their courses to save students money and I hope my colleagues in Congress will support this legislation to provide federal support to that effort," Durbin said.