This afternoon, US Senators Durbin and Franken introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act for consideration by the US Senate. This act specifically supports the use of OER and open textbooks.
Of note are the findings of the proposed legislation:
Congress finds the following:
(1) The high cost of college textbooks continues to be a barrier for many students in achieving higher education.
(2) According to the College Board, during the 2012-2013 academic year an average student spent an estimated $1,200 on college books and supplies.
(3) The Government Accountability Office found that new textbook prices increased 82 percent over the last decade and that although Federal efforts to increase price transparency have provided students and families with more and better information, more must be done to address rising costs.
(4) The growth of the Internet has enabled the creation and sharing of digital content, including open educational resources that can be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public.
(5) Using open educational resources in place of traditional materials in large-enrollment college courses can reduce textbook costs by 80 to 100 percent.
(6) Federal investment in expanding the use of open educational resources could significantly lower college textbook costs and reduce financial barriers to higher education, while making efficient use of taxpayer funds.
The Affordable College Textbook Act would create a grants program to be administered by the US Department of Education to support the creation and adoption of open textbooks and OER at institutions across the US. These pilot programs may use existing OER, create new OER, remix and adapt OER, or conduct research with the ultimate goal of lowering costs for students.
Follow the conversation about this bill on Twitter at #OERUSA