Text: S.1864 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (09/26/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 1864 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

<DOC>






115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1864

  To expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for 
                               students.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 26, 2017

  Mr. Durbin (for himself, Mr. Franken, and Mr. King) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                 Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for 
                               students.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Affordable College Textbook Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    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 2016-2017 
        academic year, the average student budget for college books and 
        supplies at 4-year public institutions of higher education was 
        $1,250.
            (3) The Government Accountability Office found that new 
        textbook prices increased 82 percent between 2002 and 2012 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) According to the Student PIRGs, expanded use of open 
        educational resources has the potential to save students more 
        than a billion dollars annually.
            (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.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (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.
            (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 (20 
        U.S.C. 1001).
            (3) Open educational resource.--The term ``open educational 
        resource'' means an educational resource that either resides in 
        the public domain or has been released under an intellectual 
        property license that permits its free use, reuse, 
        modification, and sharing with others.
            (4) 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.
            (5) Relevant faculty.--The term ``relevant faculty'' means 
        both tenure track and contingent faculty members who may be 
        involved in the creation of open educational resources or the 
        use of open educational resources created as part of the grant 
        application.
            (6) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Education.

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 projects that expand the use of 
open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students while 
maintaining or improving instruction and student learning outcomes.
    (b) Eligible Entity.--In this section, the term ``eligible entity'' 
means an institution of higher education or group of institutions of 
higher education.
    (c) Applications.--
            (1) In general.--Each eligible entity desiring a grant 
        under this section, after consultation with relevant faculty, 
        shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in 
        such manner, and accompanied by such information as the 
        Secretary may reasonably require.
            (2) Contents.--Each application submitted under paragraph 
        (1) shall include a description of the project to be completed 
        with grant funds and--
                    (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;
                    (B) a plan for evaluating, before creating new open 
                educational resources, whether existing open 
                educational resources could be used or adapted for the 
                same purpose;
                    (C) a plan for quality review and review of 
                accuracy of any open educational resources to be 
                created or adapted through the grant;
                    (D) a plan for assessing the impact of open 
                textbooks on instruction and student learning outcomes 
                at the eligible entity;
                    (E) 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; and
                    (F) a statement on consultation with relevant 
                faculty, including those engaged in the creation of 
                open educational resources, in the development of the 
                application.
    (d) Special Consideration.--In awarding grants under this section, 
the Secretary shall give special consideration to applications that 
demonstrate the greatest potential to--
            (1) achieve the highest level of savings for students 
        through sustainable expanded use of open textbooks in 
        postsecondary courses offered by the eligible entity;
            (2) expand the use of open textbooks at institutions of 
        higher education outside of the eligible entity; and
            (3) produce--
                    (A) the highest quality open textbooks;
                    (B) open textbooks that can be most easily utilized 
                and adapted by faculty members at institutions of 
                higher education;
                    (C) open textbooks that correspond to the highest 
                enrollment courses at institutions of higher education; 
                and
                    (D) open textbooks created or adapted in 
                partnership with entities, including campus bookstores, 
                that will assist in marketing and distribution of the 
                open textbook.
    (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:
            (1) Professional development for any faculty and staff 
        members at institutions of higher education, including the 
        search for and review of open textbooks.
            (2) Creation or adaptation of open educational resources, 
        especially open textbooks.
            (3) Development or improvement of tools and informational 
        resources that support the use of open textbooks, including 
        accessible instructional materials for students with 
        disabilities.
            (4) Research evaluating the efficacy of the use of open 
        textbooks for achieving savings for students and the impact on 
        instruction and student learning outcomes.
            (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).
    (f) License.--Educational resources created under subsection (e) 
shall be licensed under a nonexclusive, irrevocable license to the 
public to exercise any of the rights under copyright conditioned only 
on the requirement that attribution be given as directed by the 
copyright owner.
    (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--
            (1) on an easily accessible and interoperable website, 
        which shall be identified to the Secretary by the eligible 
        entity; and
            (2) in a machine readable, digital format that anyone can 
        directly download, edit with attribution, and redistribute.
    (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--
            (1) the effectiveness of the project in expanding the use 
        of open textbooks and in achieving savings for students;
            (2) the impact of the project on expanding the use of open 
        textbooks at institutions of higher education outside of the 
        eligible entity;
            (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);
            (4) the impact of the project on instruction and student 
        learning outcomes; and
            (5) all project costs, including the value of any volunteer 
        labor and institutional capital used for the project.
    (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section such sums as are necessary for 
each of the 5 fiscal years succeeding the fiscal year during which this 
Act is enacted.

SEC. 5. PRICE INFORMATION.

    Section 133(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1015b(b)) is amended--
            (1) by striking paragraph (6);
            (2) by redesignating paragraphs (7), (8), and (9), as 
        paragraphs (6), (7), and (8), respectively; and
            (3) in paragraph (8), as redesignated by paragraph (2)--
                    (A) by striking subparagraphs (A) and (B); and
                    (B) by striking ``a college textbook that--'' and 
                inserting ``a college textbook that may include printed 
                materials, computer disks, website access, and 
                electronically distributed materials.''.

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.

SEC. 7. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

    Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, 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--
            (1) the open textbooks created or adapted under this Act;
            (2) the adoption of such open textbooks;
            (3) the savings generated for students, States, and the 
        Federal Government through the use of open textbooks; and
            (4) the impact of open textbooks on instruction and student 
        learning outcomes.

SEC. 8. GAO REPORT.

    Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, 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--
            (1) the change of the cost of textbooks;
            (2) the factors that have contributed to the change of the 
        cost of textbooks;
            (3) the extent to which open textbooks are used at 
        institutions of higher education;
            (4) the impact of open textbooks on the cost of textbooks; 
        and
            (5) how institutions are tracking the impact of open 
        textbooks on instruction and student learning outcomes.
                                 <all>

Share This