STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 154
(Senate - September 26, 2017)

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[Pages S6136-S6138]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mr. Franken, and Mr. King):
  S. 1864. A bill to expand the use of open textbooks in order to 
achieve savings for students; to the Committee on Health, Education, 
Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1864

       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

[[Page S6137]]

       (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.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. ALEXANDER:
  S. 1866. A bill to provide the Secretary of Education with waiver 
authority for the reallocation rules and authority to extend the 
deadline by which funds have to be reallocated in the campus-based aid 
programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965 due to Hurricane 
Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, to provide equitable 
services to children and teachers in private schools, and for other 
purposes; considered and passed.

                                S. 1866

       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 ``Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and 
     Maria Education Relief Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. ALLOCATION AND USE OF CAMPUS-BASED HIGHER EDUCATION 
                   ASSISTANCE.

       (a) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Affected area.--The term ``affected area'' means an 
     area for which the President declared a major disaster or an 
     emergency under section 401 or 501, respectively, of the 
     Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 5170 and 5191) as a result of Hurricane 
     Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, Tropical Storm 
     Harvey, Tropical Storm Irma, or Tropical Storm Maria.
       (2) Affected student.--The term ``affected student'' means 
     an individual who has applied for or received student 
     financial assistance under title IV of the Higher Education 
     Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.), and who--
       (A) was enrolled or accepted for enrollment on August 25, 
     2017, at an institution of higher education that is located 
     in an affected area;
       (B) is a dependent student who was enrolled or accepted for 
     enrollment on August 25, 2017, at an institution of higher 
     education that is not located in an affected area, but whose 
     parent or parents resided or was employed on August 25, 2017, 
     in an affected area; or
       (C) suffered direct economic hardship as a direct result of 
     Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, Tropical 
     Storm Harvey, Tropical Storm Irma, or Tropical Storm Maria, 
     as determined by the Secretary.
       (3) Institution of higher education.--The term 
     ``institution of higher education'' has the meaning given the 
     term in section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
     U.S.C. 1002).
       (4) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Education.
       (b) Waivers.--
       (1) Waiver of non-federal share requirement.--
     Notwithstanding sections 413C(a)(2) and 443(b)(5) of the 
     Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070b-2(a)(2) and 
     1087-53(b)(5)), with respect to funds made available for 
     award years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018--
       (A) in the case of an institution of higher education that 
     is located in an affected area, the Secretary shall waive the 
     requirement that a participating institution of higher 
     education provide a non-Federal share to match Federal funds 
     provided to the institution for the programs authorized 
     pursuant to subpart 3 of part A and part C of title IV of the 
     Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070b et seq. and 
     1087-51 et seq.); and
       (B) in the case of an institution of higher education that 
     is not located in an affected area but has enrolled or 
     accepted for enrollment any affected students, the Secretary 
     may waive the non-Federal share requirement described in 
     subparagraph (A) after considering the institution's student 
     population and existing resources.
       (2) Waiver of reallocation rules.--
       (A) Authority to reallocate.--Notwithstanding sections 
     413D(d) and 442(d) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
     U.S.C. 1070b-3(d) and 1087-52(d)), the Secretary shall--
       (i) reallocate any funds returned under such section 413D 
     or 442 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that were 
     allocated to institutions of higher education for award year 
     2016-2017 to an institution of higher education that is 
     eligible under subparagraph (B); and
       (ii) waive the allocation reduction for award year 2018-
     2019 for an institution of higher education that is eligible 
     under subparagraph (B) returning more than 10 percent of its 
     allocation under such section 413D or 442 of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 for award year 2017-2018.
       (B) Institutions eligible for reallocation.--An institution 
     of higher education is eligible under this subparagraph if 
     the institution--
       (i) participates in the program for which excess 
     allocations are being reallocated; and
       (ii)(I) is located in an affected area; or
       (II) has enrolled or accepted for enrollment any affected 
     students in award year 2017-2018.
       (C) Basis of reallocation.--The Secretary shall--
       (i) determine the manner in which excess allocations will 
     be reallocated pursuant to this paragraph; and
       (ii) give preference in making reallocations to the needs 
     of institutions of higher education located in an affected 
     area.
       (D) Additional waiver authority.--Notwithstanding any other 
     provision of law, in order to carry out this paragraph, the 
     Secretary may waive or modify any statutory or regulatory 
     provision relating to the reallocation of excess allocations 
     under subpart 3 of part A or part C of title IV of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070b et seq. and 1087-51 et 
     seq.) in order to ensure that assistance is received by 
     institutions of higher education that are eligible under 
     subparagraph (B).
       (3) Availability of funds date extension.--Notwithstanding 
     any other provision of law--
       (A) any funds available to the Secretary under sections 
     413A and 441 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     1070b and 1087-51) for which the period of availability would 
     otherwise expire on September 30, 2017, shall be available 
     for obligation by the Secretary until September 30, 2018, for 
     the purposes of the programs authorized pursuant to subpart 3 
     of part A and part C of title IV of the Higher Education Act 
     of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070b et seq. and 1087-51 et seq.); and
       (B) the Secretary may recall any funds allocated to an 
     institution of higher education for award year 2016-2017 
     under section 413D or 442 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
     (20 U.S.C. 1070b-3 and 1087-52), that, if not returned to the 
     Secretary as excess allocations pursuant to either of those 
     sections, would otherwise lapse on September 30, 2017, and 
     reallocate those funds in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).
       (c) Emergency Requirement.--This section is designated as 
     an emergency requirement pursuant to section 4(g) of the 
     Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (title I of Public Law 
     111-139; 2 U.S.C. 933(g)).
       (d) Report.--Not later than October 1, 2018, the Secretary 
     shall submit 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 information 
     on--
       (1) the total volume of assistance received by each 
     eligible institution of higher education under subsection 
     (b)(2); and
       (2) the total volume of the non-Federal share waived for 
     each institution of higher education under subsection (b)(1).
       (e) Sunset.--The provisions of subsection (b) shall cease 
     to be effective on September 30, 2018.

     SEC. 3. PROJECT SERV AND EQUITABLE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND 
                   TEACHERS IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

       Section 8501(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7881(b)(1)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``and'';
       (2) in subparagraph (E), by striking the period at the end 
     and inserting ``; and''; and

[[Page S6138]]

       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(F) section 4631, with regard to Project SERV.''.

                          ____________________