Open educational resources (OER) has increasingly become a go-to strategy for legislators seeking to make college education more affordable and effective. Nearly half of all U.S. states have considered OER legislation in past years, and the trend is likely to continue. Given the increasing activity at the state level, SPARC is expanding the support we provide to our members in this arena.
This page is updated weekly, and tracks the latest state-by-state policy activity relevant to the SPARC community, along with policies enacted in past years. SPARC’s state policy tracking is done in conjunction with Foresight Law + Policy, and a full dataset of legislation tracked since 2015 is published in GitHub. Note that page is for tracking purposes only and being listed does not imply endorsement. For information about SPARC’s policy positions, visit our Policy & Advocacy page. Check out our additional state policy resources below.
OER Policy State-by-State
The legislature adjourned on 03/12/2018. No relevant bills were filed.
- SB 265 (2015) created the University of Arkansas System eVersity (an entirely online institution of higher education). This bill requires that open educational resources be utilized to support course delivery to students.
- AB 1806: Budget Act of 2018: Among other provisions, this bill would appropriate $6,000,000 from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for the 2018-19 fiscal year to support the development of, and expansion of the use of, open educational resources for the California Community Colleges. The bill would require the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges to submit a report, including specified data related to the progress of supporting and expanding the use of open educational resources pursuant to the bill. This bill also establsihes the California Online Community College and requires the college to utilize and leverage the programs and activities of the chancellor’s office, including the Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant Program and Open Educational Resources. Last Action: Sent to Governor to sign – 06/19/2018
- AB 2075: Existing law states that the Legislature finds and declares that the production and pricing of college textbooks deserves a high level of attention from educators and lawmakers because they impact the quality and affordability of higher education. This bill would prohibit the campuses of the University of California, the California State University, the California Community Colleges, independent institutions of higher education, and private postsecondary educational institutions in this state from requiring their students to purchase bundled textbooks and would require faculty at these institutions to inform their students of the most economically viable options for purchasing textbooks. Last Action: Re-referred to Committee on RLS, pursuant to Assembly Rule 96 – 05/03/2018
- SB 840: This budget bill would require funding for California Community Colleges to provide textbooks or digital course content to inmates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who are enrolled in one or more California Community College courses. To the extent possible, community college districts providing textbooks or digital course content are encouraged to first use open educational resources. Last Action: Enrolled and sent to Governor to sign – 06/15/2018
- AB 2385: Existing state law urges textbook publishers to take specified actions aimed at reducing the amounts that students pay for textbooks, including providing to faculty and departments considering textbook orders a list of all the different products the publisher sells. Amendment on 3/19/2018: The amendment would urge textbook publishers to post in a prominent location on their Internet websites, among other things, a detailed description of how the newest edition differs from the previous edition. The bill would authorize the Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Senate Committee on Education to field complaints from students about textbooks for which the publishers’ websites do not contain the described information and would authorize either committee, or both committees to forward the most egregious cases to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee for investigation. Last Action: Passed Assembly – 05/10/2018; In Senate, read second time and amended, ordered to third reading – 06/20/2018
- SB 727 (carried over from 2017): Innovative Pricing: allows public postsecondary educational institutions to adopt policies to allow for the use of innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks and other instructional materials. This includes bulk pricing arrangements that allow students to purchase materials or texts delivered: digitally, through a technology that is, or the license of which is, required to only be used within a course, in a print format. Innovative pricing techniques may only be adopted if it would actually reduce the cost of textbooks or other instructional materials. Last Action: Status set to inactive after session adjourned in 2017.
- AB 97/SB 72 (2017): an appropriations bill that allows funding to be used for increased services for high-needs students, which may include the development of open educational resources and zero-textbook-cost degrees that reduce costs for students. Community college districts utilizing resources for this purpose are encouraged to first develop open educational resources and zero-textbook-cost degrees for courses that are transferable to other schools within the state.
- SB 1359 (2016): Requires each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University, and would request each campus of the University of California, to identify in the online version of the campus course schedule its courses that exclusively use digital course materials, as specified, and communicate to students that the course materials for these courses are free of charge and therefore not required to be purchased.
- AB 798 (2015): Creates the Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive Fund to provide incentives and reward campus, staff, and faculty efforts to accelerate the adoption of open educational resources. The purpose of this bill was to reduce textbook costs for college students and encourage faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower cost, high-quality open educational resources.
- SB 1052 (2012): Established the California Open Education Resources Council. The bill required the Council to determine a list of 50 lower division courses in the public postsecondary segments for which high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials would be developed or acquired. The bill required the council to review and approve developed open source materials, promote strategies for production, access, and use, and regularly solicit and consider, feedback from each of the statewide student associations.
- SB 1053 (2012): Established the California Digital Open Source Library, under the administration of the California State University, in coordination with the California Community Colleges, for the purpose of housing open source materials while providing an Internet Web-based way for students, faculty, and staff to easily find, adopt, utilize, or modify course materials for little or no cost. The bill required that materials in the library bear a creative commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material while still allowing the authors or creators of the material to receive credit for their efforts.
- HB18-1331 (enacted): Concerning expanding the use of open educational resources at public institutions of higher education, and, in connection therewith, creating the Colorado open educational resources council, creating a grant program to support the creation and use of open educational resources, and making a $660K appropriation. Last Action: Signed by Governor – 04/30/2018.
- SB 258 (2017): Creates the open educational resources council in the Department of Higher Education. The Department is required to contract with an entity to evaluate the existing use of OER by public institutions of higher education and consider the options for and obstacles to increasing the use of OER. The council must facilitate the work of the contracting entity, and, taking into account the findings of the contracting entity, recommend initiatives to expand the use of OER, resulting in cost savings and other educational benefits for students enrolled
- HB 5037: This Act would establish the division of postsecondary education. The division of postsecondary education within the Department of Education and the constituent units of the state system of higher education may each establish guidelines that encourage institutions of higher education in this state to implement programs that reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational resources for students. Last Action: Referred to Joint Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement on 2/18/18. Public hearing scheduled for 2/27/18.
- SB 948 (2017): Authorizes and encourages institutions of higher education in the state to establish guidelines to implement programs that reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational resources for students. This is a “digital discount” bill supported by publishers to promote partnerships between publishers and institutions. Similar bills have been filed in other states.
- HB 6117 (2015): Established an open-source textbook pilot program to assess the use of high-quality digital open-source textbooks and to promote the use of those textbooks. Requires a report with analysis of the cost savings to students for courses using an open-source textbook instead of a traditional college-level textbook and any potential barriers to the effective use of open-source textbooks by students and faculty. The bill also established a task force to study best practices re: open educational resources.
- HB 831/SB 540: This bill removes the Division of Florida Colleges from within the Department of Education and creates the State Board of Community Colleges. It requires the new State Board of Community Colleges to take over the responsibility (from the Florida Department of Education) o adopt textbook and instructional materials affordability policies, procedures, and guidelines for implementation by Florida Community College System institutions and state universities. It requires the State Board of Community Colleges to consider the selection of textbooks and instructional materials through cost-benefit analyses that enable student to obtain the highest-quality product at the lowest available price by considering buying digital textbooks in bulk, expanding the use of open-access textbooks, among others. Last Action: Indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration on 3/10/18.
- HB 7019 (2016): Each Florida College System Institution and state university shall adopt textbook and instructional materials affordability policies, procedures and guidelines in order to minimize the costs of textbooks. This includes course instructors using open-access textbooks, where possible and instructors are encouraged to develop, adapt, and review open-access textbooks especially in high-demand general education courses.
- SB 2328: Establishes the University of Hawai‘i open educational resources task force to conduct a comprehensive analysis and evaluation on all general education courses and high attendance courses taught at the University of Hawai‘i system to identify open educational resources for those courses. Establishes and appropriates funds for an open educational resources pilot project grant program to incentivize faculty that adopt, develop, and implement open educational resources. Previously required courses at the University of Hawai’i system to exclusively use OER. Last Action: The committee on HED recommended that the measure be deferred until 3/20/18.
- HCR 125/HR 112: This concurrent resolution encourages the faculty of the University of Hawaii system to make greater use of open education resources and other low-cost or free resources. Last Action: Report from HED adopted, referred to committee on FIN – 03/28/2018.
The legislature adjourned on 05/31/2018
- SSB 3179/SF2362: An Act establishing requirements relating to the use and identification of open educational resources by postsecondary educational institutions – this bill would require any postsecondary institution whose students are eligible for or who receive financial assistance to identify in each course catalog published by the institution the courses that will utilize open educational resources. This also requires regents universities to develop and implement, upon receiving state board of regents approval, a five-year plan to increase the number of courses utilizing open educational materials. Last Action: Subcommittee recommended passage on 3/13/18.
No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.
- HCR 80 (2016): established the Virtual Library Study Commission to conduct a study and make recommendations regarding the development of a statewide virtual library – OERs representing the development of shared online accessible textbook collections, can bring educational costs down considerably while making efficient use of tax dollars
The Legislature adjourned on 04/09/2018
- SB 949: Career Education Policy Act: This bill would require public community colleges to pay for the costs of textbooks and other educational instructional supplies for eligible students, unless the college participates in and uses open educational resources. This bill would also require an apprenticeship program operator to use open educational resources or pay for the costs of textbooks or other educational instructional supplies for certain students as a condition of approval. Last Action: Unfavorable report by Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs – 03/26/2018
- SB 424/HB 967 (2017): includes $100,000 in general funds for a grant for the Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative at the University System of Maryland. These funds may be used to: award grants to support and promote the creation of openly licensed educational resources and reimburse expenses incurred in operating the Open Source Textbook Initiative.
- S 714/S 2169 (carried over from 2017): This resolve creates a special commission to investigate and study the college textbook industry. This shall include an examination of the costs of purchasing textbooks and study materials, reviewing information concerning offering a choice of lower cost texts, including digital texts, and exploring the effective use of E-textbooks. Last Action: Resolve S2169 discharged to the committee on Senate Rules on 2/7/18.
- S 304 (carried over from 2017): A special commission is hereby established to study and report on how to maximize the use of digital and open textbooks for K-12 and public colleges and universities. Last Action: Hearing scheduled in committee on Education for 9/5/17.
- H4200 (2016): Language was inserted into the FY 2017 appropriations bill authorizing the Department of Higher Education to establish suggested guidelines and protocols in accordance with 34 CFR 668.164(c)(2) to encourage and assist colleges and universities with the implementation of programs which reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational materials. This was language was circulated by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to legislators in many different states.
The Legislature adjourned on 05/21/20182018 Activity:
- SF 3098/HF 3985: Requiring Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to develop a plan aimed at providing students with affordable textbooks and instructional materials, and report to the legislature by January 15, 2020. Last Action: Senate committee recommends SF 3098 pass as amended on 3/26/18.
- HF 4328: This education appropriations bill includes a new section that would require the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to develop a plan to increase the use of affordable textbooks and instructional materials. The plan must establish a goal for the percentage of all courses offered at state colleges and universities that will use affordable textbooks and instructional materials. Last Action: Senate second reading – 05/19/2018.
- HF 2749 (2016): $100,000 appropriation for the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for programs on system campuses that promote adoption of open textbooks. Programs must focus on review, creation, and promotion of new or existing open textbooks and on saving money for students while meeting the academic needs of faculty. An additional $100,000 one-time appropriation is provided to expand and promote the open textbook library to faculty across the state.
- SF 1236 (2013): Omnibus higher education appropriations bill. Includes reducing the cost of textbooks through OER as one of several performance goals to release funding for the MnSCU system.
- A 327: Affordable College Textbook Act: This bill requires institutions of higher education to develop open textbooks available to students at no charge and requires buyback of used textbooks at 50% of purchase price. Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, a four year public or independent institution of higher education, after consultation with faculty members at the institution, shall submit a plan to the Secretary of Higher Education to expand the use of open textbooks to achieve savings for students. Last Action: Reported from Assembly Committee, as a substitute, 2nd reading – 06/18/2018.
- S 768: This bill requires institutions of higher education to develop open textbook plan. Within 180 days of the effective date of this bill, an institution of higher education, after consultation with faculty members at the institution, shall submit a plan to the Secretary of Higher Education to expand the use of open textbooks and commercial digital learning materials in order to achieve savings for students enrolled in the institution. Last Action: Reported out of Assembly Committee with Amendments, 2nd reading – 06/18/2018.
- A 1149: This bill requires institutions of higher education to offer open textbooks. Within 90 days of the effective date of this bill, an institution of higher education, after consultation with faculty members at the institution, shall submit a plan to the Secretary of Higher Education to make open textbooks and commercial digital learning materials available to students enrolled in the institution in order to achieve a savings for those students. Last Action: referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee on 1/9/18.
- A 3254: This bill requires institutions of higher education to develop plan to offer open textbooks to students – within 180 days of this law becoming effective, a public or independent institution of higher education, after consultation with faculty members at the institution, shall submit a plan to the Secretary of Higher Education to expand the use of open textbooks and commercial digital learning materials in order to achieve savings for students enrolled in the institution. Last Action: Introduced, referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee on 2/12/2018.
- FY 2019 State Budget: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo allocated $8 million for the Open Educational Resources Initiative at SUNY and CUNY for the second year in a row. By the end of the Spring 2019 semester, the initiative will have covered 260,000 students for a total savings of more than $28 million. Last Action: Announced by Governor on 5/16/18.
- S 6608 (carried over from 2017): Reduces the cost of textbooks and course materials for students of institutions of higher education by requiring every institution of higher education to adopt policies that allow the use of innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks, supplemental materials, and other course materials or textbooks. Last Action: Referred to Higher Education – 06/07/2018.
- A 9088: This bill authorizes the regents to review the issue of textbook cost and ways to enhance the academic role and delivery of course materials, and ensure student affordability through such approaches as used books, textbook rentals, custom materials, and the use of open access textbooks, digital textbooks, print on demand technologies, and through greater collaboration between faculty, publishers, college bookstores, and libraries. Last Action: Held for consideration in Education – 06/06/2018.
- FY 2018 State Budget (2017): The Budget includes an $8 million investment to provide open educational resources, including electronic-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY. At the state’s direction, SUNY and CUNY will use this funding to target high-enrollment courses, including general education, to maximize student savings. This funding was renewed in FY 2019.
No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.
- HB 1358 (2017): This bill requires the legislative management to consider studying the use of open educational resources in the elementary and secondary school system. The study must include an analysis of potential cost savings for school districts and the department of public instruction, the availability of private sector partnerships to aid in the development, adoption, implementation, and funding of open educational resources, and the steps necessary to establish ND as a #GoOpen state with the USED.
- HR 1003 (2015): An act to provide appropriation for defraying the expenses of the North Dakota university system. Includes a one time appropriation for $110,000 for open education resource training for the 2015-2017 biennium.
- HCR 3009 (2013): A concurrent resolution directing the Legislative Management to study the use of open textbooks in the North Dakota University System, including options to develop partnerships with other states to use open textbooks.
- HCR 3013 (2013): A concurrent resolution urging the State Board of Higher Education and faculty members of North Dakota University System institutions to increase the use of open textbooks for academic courses in order to reduce the financial burden to higher education students.
No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.
- HB 49 (2017): requires that no later than June 30, 2018, all state institutions of higher education that are located in the same region of the state to enter into an agreement providing for the creation of a compact. This compact, among other things, shall identify, develop, and implement shared curriculum resources to promote educational pathways that minimize the time required to earn a degree. This may include curriculum delivered using open educational resources and online formats.
No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.
- HB 2729 (2017): requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to work regularly with public universities and community colleges to analyze and evaluate effectiveness of previously adopted open educational resources and to increase number of open educational resources used in courses.
- HB 2871 (2015): established an open educational resources grant program within the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to encourage the use of low or no-cost open educational resources in Oregon’s post-secondary institutions of education. It also required that each public university and community college must prominently designate courses whose course materials exclusively consist of open or free textbooks or other low-cost or no-cost course materials.
- HB 712 (carried over from 2017): Providing for Availability of Electronic Resources at Institutions of Higher Education: This bill requires that no later than Jan. 1, 2020, any entity that publishes textbooks offered for sale at an institution of higher education shall make the textbooks available, in whole or in part, for sale in electronic format. The electronic version of any textbook shall contain the same content as the printed version and may be copy-protected. Last Action: referred to Education 3/6/17.
No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.
- Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative (2016): On September 27th 2016, Governor Gina Raimondo announced a statewide Open Textbook Initiative challenging Rhode Island’s higher education institutions to reduce college costs by saving students $5 million over five years using open licensed textbooks. The Rhode Island Office of Innovation coordinates the Open Textbook Initiative in partnership with Rhode Island College’s Adams Library and Roger Williams University and with support from external partners. Funding for micro-grants is provided by Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner and the Office of Innovation. Note: No legislation is associated with this initiative.
- S 262 (carried over from 2017): amends the current law to require a textbook policy for public institutions of higher education that is intended to help minimize college textbook costs. This bill requires institutions to provide faculty with information and tools for selection of textbooks, including pricing information and availability of alternative formats for course materials. Last Action: Introduced in House, referred to Committee on Education and Public Works on 3/21/17.
The legislature will not meet in 2018.
- SB 810 (2017): requires that each institution of higher education compile a course schedule indicating, among other things, whether the textbook required for each course is an open educational resource. Institutions shall make reasonable efforts to disseminate information to students, including the availability of courses and sections of courses that require or recommend only open educational resources. Further, this bill would establish the open educational resources grant program to encourage faculty at institutions to adopt and develop courses that use only open educational resources.
- HB 454 (Enacted 2018): Requires the governing board of each public institution of higher education to develop guidelines for the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost open educational resources in courses offered at such institution. Amended to permit institution to include guidelines for low-cost commercially published materials. Last Action: Approved by Governor – 04/05/18
- HB 2262 (2017): Established the Online Virginia Network Authority and requires each public institution of higher education and each consortium of public institutions of higher education that offers online courses, online degree programs, or online credential programs to offer courses, degree programs, or credential programs through the Authority. The Authority shall, to the extent practicable, manage and reduce program costs by reducing textbook costs through open access.
The legislature adjourned on 3/8/18.
- HB 1561 (Enacted 2018): Creates an OER Grant Pilot Program run by the Student Achievement Council for the public, four-year institutions of higher education. Grants may be used for creating a campus coordinator position for OER and/or supporting faculty to adopt, modify, or create OER. Also directs the Council to to conduct outreach to other states regarding a multistate OER network. Orders a study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy on the cost of textbooks and course materials, and on the use of OER at the four-year institutions of higher education. The K-12 OER Project previously authorized in the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is made permanent. A total of $137,000 is appropriated in SB 6032 to the Student Achievement Council and the Evergreen State College for the implementation of this bill. Last Action: Signed by Governor on 3/27/18 with line item veto of Section 3 (which would have made the bill conditional on an appropriation).
- SB 6032 (Enacted 2018): State supplementary operating budget bill. Includes $137,000 in appropriations for the implementation of HB 1561 if enacted. $100,000 is appropriated to the Student Achievement Council, and $37,000 to the Evergreen State College. Last Action: Signed by Governor on 3/27/18.
- HB 1253 (carried over from 2017): seeks to make higher education more affordable by providing incentives for the use of open source instructional materials. This bill would give anyone who publishes or creates open source instructional materials to be used by students attending private or public institutions of higher education in the state the ability to be eligible for a tax credit. Last Action: Legislature adjourned on 3/8/18 without taking further action.
- HB 1375 (2017): adds a section that requires community and technical colleges to indicate the cost of any required textbook or other course material to students in the online course description used during registration. The goal of this bill is to incentivize faculty to use resources available on the open course library by informing students of a textbook’s cost when they register for a class.
- HB 2337 (2012): Requires the superintendent of public instruction to take the lead in developing openly licensed courseware aligned with the common core state standards and placed under a Creative Commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material, while still allowing the authors or creators to retain the copyright and to receive credit for their efforts. Allocates one and one-half percent of the amount otherwise allocable to school districts for curriculum and textbooks under RCW 28A.150.260(8) to be allocated to the office of the superintendent of public instruction solely for the development of openly licensed courseware.
- SB 6355 (2010): Provides a systematic mechanism for communities and thestate to identify educational programs and capital investments needed to expand the state’s higher education system upon demand. Authorizes a competitive grant program to support innovative solutions, including furthering the development of learner-centered, technology-assisted course delivery, including expansion of online and hybrid coursework, open courseware, and other uses of technology in order to effectively and efficiently share costs, improve the quality of instruction and student, faculty, and administrative services, increase undergraduate and graduate student access, retention, and graduation, and to enhance transfer capability.
- SB 6444 (2010): Operating supplemental appropriations bill. Appropriates $1,112,000 for fiscal year 2010 and $1,113,000 for fiscal year 2011 for the state board of community and technical colleges to enhance online distance learning and open courseware technology. Funds shall be used to support open courseware, open textbooks, open licenses to increase access, affordability and quality of courses in higher education.
- HB 1025 (2009): Requires the governing bodies of state higher education institutions, in collaboration with stakeholders, to adopt rules requiring that affiliated bookstores disclose information to students on required course materials including but not limited to title, authors, edition, price, and ISBN at least four weeks in advance, with certain exceptions, and requiring that faculty and staff members consider the least costly practices in assigning course materials, such as adopting the least expensive edition available, adopting free, open textbooks when available, and working with college librarians to put together collections of free online web and library resources.
- HB 1946 (2009): Encourages all institutions of higher education to use common online learning technologies. Requires the higher education coordinating board to convene a higher education technology transformation task force to prepare a report that includes a plan to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of public higher education relative to the strategic and operational use of technology in higher education. The task force is directed to investigate methods and open licensing options for effectively sharing digital content.
- HB 2300 (2007): Publishers must make immediately available to faculty at higher education institutions the wholesale price of college textbooks and a history of revisions.
- HCR 41: Establishing the Virtual Library Study Commission to conduct a study regarding development of a statewide virtual library and to submit a written report of findings and recommendations to the House Education Committee and the Senate Education Committee. This resolution cites OER as a way to bring down education costs. Last Action: Legislature adjourned without further action – 3/10/2018