Rep. Jesse Young introduces the Textbook Affordability via Open Source Act

Following last year's Republican-led efforts to lower tuition at the state's public colleges and universities, Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor has introduced legislation to reduce textbook and course material costs for students. This bill would make higher education more affordable with the use of technology and open educational resources (OER). The measure is called the Textbook Affordability via Open Sourcing (TAVOS) Act.

“The cost of textbooks is a huge financial burden for students in our state, especially as prices continue to rise,” said Young. “My 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 information technology service sector, have created a wealth of educational material for private use.”

House Bill 2780 incentivizes the private sector to “open source” textbook material making it available for free use and adoption among the state colleges and universities. This allows students to have free, but extremely relevant, effective and alternative course materials.

Washington state is a pioneer in promoting innovation in our higher education system. In 2006, House Bill 1025 was signed into law requiring schools to purchase the least expensive textbooks available. In 2009, House Bill 1244 was signed into law establishing the first Open Course Library. In 2011, House Bill 1909 was signed into law adopting OER's as a strategy to create greater efficiencies in our community college system.

“It is time to continue moving Washington state forward, break the monopoly, and expand the innovations of OER's and technology into our entire higher educational system,” said Young. “This bill is a true win/win scenario as students and professors gain an abundant source of textbook material for no cost, and industry gains another productive outlet for already created material.”

This bill was heard today and received only favorable testimony. It is now scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Higher Education on Feb. 3.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov