Durbin: Legislation to Help Bring Down College Text Book Costs

By Nick Gale, WLS News

With the cost of new text books a growing concern for college students, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is pushing legislation modeled after efforts at the University of Illinois.

Durbin’s Affordable College Textbook Act would create a competitive grant program to support the creation and use of open college textbooks – textbooks that are available under an open license, allowing professors, students, researchers and others to freely access the materials.

“We did it on a competitive basis and schools that want to step forward and prove their point that they can do this online we’ll submit their applications for grants,” Durbin said. “As I said, we did this at the University of Illinois. Now there are certain rules of the game. If you’re going to have an open text book, it really has to be open, available to everyone, for the public, and what were finding is there’s a lot of good response to it and I think its catching on.”

Listen to Nick Gale’s report here:

The legislation expands on the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act which contained provisions from Durbin’s College Textbook Affordability Act that aimed to make more information available to students looking to manage college textbook costs.

Specifically, the Affordable College Textbook Act:

Creates a grant program to support pilot programs at colleges and universities to create and expand the use of open textbooks with priority for those programs that will achieve the highest savings for students;

Ensures that any open textbooks or educational materials created using program funds will be freely and easily accessible to the public;

Requires entities who receive funds to complete a report on the effectiveness of the program in achieving savings for students;

Improves existing requirements for publishers to make all textbooks and other educational materials available for sale individually rather than as a bundle; and

Requires the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress by 2017 with an update on the price trends of college textbooks.

@ 2015 WLS News