Campus / National / News / November 19, 2013

New bill aims to lower textbook costs

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, one of the bill's two sponsors (Image courtesy of the Center for American Progress).

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, one of the bill’s two sponsors (Image courtesy of the Center for American Progress).

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.”

Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

Tags:  affordable college textbook act al franken dick durbin government accountability office prices textbooks

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