Senators Push For More Open Textbooks

Career College Central summary:

  • Congress is mulling a proposal that would promote the use of free online educational materials nationwide — an action higher education advocates say is crucial to combat the rising costs of textbooks. U.S. Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced a bill last month to implement open-source textbook programs, a move that follows the University of Minnesota’s increased use of the platform. Traditional textbook prices rose more than 80 percent from 2002 to 2012, according to a June report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
  • The bill would establish a grant program to help develop open-source textbook programs at universities across the country, similar to the University’s open textbook library created by the College of Education and Human Development.
  • Since last year, 11 CEHD faculty members have used open textbooks in their course curricula. The move saved students about $145,000 over three semesters, according to CEHD director of academic technology David Ernst.
  • Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition Chairperson Matt Forstie said the University is on the forefront of the movement to deter textbook costs, but it should consider expanding open textbook libraries elsewhere.

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