S.1704 - Affordable College Textbook Act
A bill to expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students.
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SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(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.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(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.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(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.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
(1) EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE- The term ‘educational resource’ means an educational material that can be used in postsecondary instruction, including textbooks and other written or audiovisual works.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION- The term ‘institution of higher education’ has the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (
(3) OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE- The term ‘open educational resource’ means an educational resource that is licensed under an open license and made freely available online to the public.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) OPEN LICENSE- The term ‘open license’ means a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable copyright license granting the public permission to access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, adapt, distribute, and otherwise use the work and adaptations of the work for any purpose, conditioned only on the requirement that attribution be given to authors as designated.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) OPEN TEXTBOOK- The term ‘open textbook’ means an open educational resource or set of open educational resources that either is a textbook or can be used in place of a textbook for a postsecondary course at an institution of higher education.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) Grants Authorized- From the amounts appropriated under subsection (i), the Secretary shall make grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to support pilot programs that expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- Each eligible entity desiring a grant under this section, after consultation with relevant faculty (including those engaged in the creation of open educational resources), shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) a plan for promoting and tracking the use of open textbooks in postsecondary courses offered by the eligible entity, including an estimate of the projected savings that will be achieved for students;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(D) a plan for disseminating information about the results of the project to institutions of higher education outside of the eligible entity, including promoting the adoption of any open textbooks created or adapted through the grant; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Special Consideration- In awarding grants under this section, the Secretary shall give special consideration to applications that demonstrate the greatest potential to--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(e) Use of Funds- An eligible entity that receives a grant under this section shall use the grant funds to carry out any of the following activities to expand the use of open textbooks:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) Partnerships with other entities, including other institutions of higher education, for-profit organizations, or nonprofit organizations, to carry out any of the activities described in paragraphs (1) through (4).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(g) Access and Distribution- The full and complete digital content of each educational resource created or adapted under subsection (e) shall be made available free of charge to the public--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(h) Report- Upon an eligible entity’s completion of a project supported under this section, the eligible entity shall prepare and submit a report to the Secretary regarding--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) educational resources created or adapted under the grant, including instructions on where the public can access each educational resource under the terms of subsection (g); andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(i) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section for each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years after the enactment of this Act.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. PRICE INFORMATION.
SEC. 6. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that institutions of higher education should encourage the consideration of open textbooks by faculty within the generally accepted principles of academic freedom that establishes the right and responsibility of faculty members, individually and collectively, to select course materials that are pedagogically most appropriate for their classes.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. REPORT TO CONGRESS.
Not later than July 1, 2016, the Secretary shall prepare and submit a report to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives detailing--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 8. GAO REPORT.
Not later than July 1, 2017, the Comptroller General of the United States shall prepare and submit a report to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives on the cost of textbooks to students at institutions of higher education. The report shall particularly examine--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink