In December 2017, House Republicans unveiled the PROSPER Act to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The bill passed the House Education and Workforce Committee on a party-line vote, but has not yet garnered enough votes to be brought to the floor. During the first half of 2018, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a series of hearings to help hammer out priorities, but committee leadership has indicated that it is unlikely that the Senate will take further action in the 115th Congress.
As the federal law that governs most of higher education, HEA reauthorization is an important legislative avenue to promote the use of OER at higher education institutions. SPARC is working to insert language from the Affordable College Textbook Act into the PROSPER Act and the Senate’s version of the reauthorization. We are also exploring opportunities to amend current textbook price disclosure requirements in HEA to include OER, laying groundwork for further work in the next Congress.