Texbook act aims to relieve debt

The Textbook Affordability Act, or Assembly Bill 798, was passed in the state Senate and Assembly on Sept. 11 and is intended to relieve students of the financial burden of expensive textbooks.

The bill is now awaiting to be passed into law with the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill encourages faculty within the CSU and California community colleges to adopt low-cost textbooks that are available through open educational resources.

The Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive Fund is organized to make textbooks and other necessary materials more affordable for students. This will require faculty and staff to use other resources as well as alternative ways for the instructor to design specific material for each course.

Junior Dane Miller believes textbooks should be free for students.

“Out of all of the industrialized countries, students in the United States pay the most [for textbooks in college] compared to other countries,” said Miller.

The Associated Students of Sonoma State made an effort to support this bill last fall by creating the Textbook Affordability Project, a group of seven Sonoma State professors participated in making textbooks more affordable for students with a $10,000 grant. This project served as a trial for this year’s Textbook Affordability Act, which would require professors to adopt different open resources as an alternative to expensive textbooks.

The Textbook Affordability Act is aimed to help alleviate students from debt.

Katie Crabtree is a junior and has purchased textbooks in various ways, attempting to get the best bang for her buck.

Getting in line at the campus bookstore and waiting to hear the total price of the semester’s textbooks can often leave students with a pit in their stomach, knowing the price is not right.

“I think textbooks should definitely be more affordable to all college students,” said Crabtree. “They are a valuable resource that all students need. Students should not have to struggle to pay for something that is absolutely necessary in order to succeed.”

The Congressional Research Service explains that part of the process the grant does that helps relieve students of expensive textbooks is requiring digital content that is user friendly.

Anyone must be able to download their textbooks, as well as edit them, completely free of charge. The program is designed to give students the highest savings possible

Associated Students has requested a grant for Sonoma State as a resource for the students to help make textbooks more affordable.

The materials connected with courses open textbooks will be included such as videos, articles, and audio recordings. The price of the open textbooks will drop to about $20 to $40, instead of around $150 to $200.

For more information on the Textbook Affordability Act, visit legislature.ca.gov.