Today, the U.S. Congress reaffirmed the national role of “open” in the path to college affordability by renewing the $5 million federal Open Textbook Pilot for another year. Contained in the broader Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act of 2019, the program answers a call from students across the country to tackle textbook costs as a barrier to higher education. Passed by the House this evening, the bill is expected to be signed into law by the end of the week.
Once signed into law, the bill will provide another one-time $5 million appropriation for the Open Textbook Pilot, bringing the total federal investment to $10 million. Importantly, the bill also includes further instructions for the Department of Education designed to improve implementation. For the second round of grants, Congress specifies a clearer set of allowable activities, increases the length of the application period and number of awards, and strengthens open licensing requirements. These instructions are a direct response to recommendations that arose from the first round of funding, which is expected to be awarded later this week.
SPARC was proud to work alongside our ally U.S.PIRG and hundreds of students and librarians who took part in advocating for the Open Textbook Pilot, both this summer and back in March.