The Affordable College Textbook Act never got off the ground when it was introduced in 2013. Now, it’s being reintroduced as Congress works on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
The act, sponsored by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN) in the U.S. Senate and Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) in the House of Representatives, would encourage the use of open-access textbooks by providing grants to schools to make free or low-cost digital content available to professors, students, and researchers.
The grant process would allow schools to conduct pilots aimed at expanding the use of open educational resources as a way to lower college expenses to students. Applicants would have to provide estimates on the potential cost savings, with priority placed on programs that save students the most.
Publishers would be required to make all textbooks and educational materials available for sale as individual pieces of content, rather than as a bundle. It also requires the Government Accountability Office to provide updates on price trends of college textbooks.