Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a new bill, dubbed the Affordable College Textbook Act, into Congress last week in an effort to rein in soaring textbook prices in higher education.
The major provisions of the bill (which can be read here) are the creation of a new federal grant program to promote the development of “open-textbooks,” new regulations designed to prevent textbook publishers from bundling textbooks together to hike prices and the commissioning of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete a report by 2017 that charts trends in textbook prices.
A GAO study cited in the bill found that textbook costs have risen 82 percent in the last decade. In that same time period, tuition and fees have also gone up by 89 percent. Both increases far outpace the rate of inflation.
“It will help provide cheaper alternatives to traditional textbooks,” Sen. Franken said, “and keep more money in students’ pockets where it belongs.”