Washington House Republicans introduce bills to reduce costs of textbooks and course materials

Following last year’s Republican-led efforts to lower tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities, Washington House Republicans have introduced three pieces of legislation that seek to reduce textbook and course material costs for students.

House Bill 2780, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Young, would provide incentives for the use of open source instructional materials.

“This bill seeks to tap into an already existing and robust source of curriculum that is used by the private sector. In today’s economy, many industries – especially the IT service sector arena – have created a wealth of educational material for private use. This bill incentivizes the private sector to ‘open source’ this material. This means make it available for free use and adoption among our state colleges and universities so our kids will have free, but extremely relevant and effective, alternatives to the over-priced and monopolistic course material they’re forced to buy right now,” said Young, R-Gig Harbor. “It’s a true win/win scenario. Students and professors gain an abundant source of textbook material for no cost, and industry gains another productive outlet for already created material.”

House Bill 2680 would establish the Washington open education pilot grant program for the four-year institutions of higher education. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Melanie Stambaugh.

“The high cost of textbooks can be a significant barrier for students in our higher education institutions,” said Stambaugh, R-Puyallup. “The Legislature made historic reductions in tuition last year to ease the financial burden on our college students, but we must continue to do more. Providing open educational resources as an alternative to traditional textbooks is a positive step forward in the effort to reduce the costs of attending college.”

House Bill 2796, sponsored by Rep. Luanne Van Werven, would provide students with the costs of required course materials during registration.

“I’ve heard from many students who think including the price of textbooks in their course catalog is a great idea. They want this information before registration,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “We talk a lot about college affordability and my bill is a step in that direction by providing transparency for textbook costs.”

The bills are scheduled for a public hearing Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. in the House Higher Education Committee. You can find the agenda for the meeting here. You can watch the hearing online at TVW.


Washington State House Republican Communications