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OER State Policy Tracker

Open Education

Stay up to date on OER policy in your state

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

Arkansas

2018 Activity:

Legislature will convene on 2/12/18.

Existing Policies:

  • 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.
California

2018 Activity:

  • AB1806/SB839Budget Act of 2018: This bill includes funding to increase services for high-needs students, including 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. Last Action: AB1806 referred to Budget Committee on 1/29/18 and SB839 referred to B. and F.R. Committee on 1/10/18.
  • SB727 (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.

Existing Policies:

  • AB97/SB72 (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.
  • SB1359 (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.
  • AB798 (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.
  • SB1052 (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.
  • SB1053 (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.
Colorado

2018 Activity:

No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.

Existing Policies:

  • SB258 (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
Connecticut

2018 Activity:

Legislature will convene on 2/7/18.

Existing Policies:

  • SB948 (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.
Florida

2018 Activity: 

  • HB831/SB540: 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: HB 830 introduced on 1/9/18-HJ 73, SB 540 retained on Senate calendar on 1/31/18.

Existing Policies:

  • 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.
Hawaii

2018 Activity: 

  • SB2328: 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: Passed Higher Education Committee with amendments on 2/6/18.
Illinois

2018 Activity:

  • SB1838 (carried over from 2017): Allows universities and community colleges to establish a digital discount program that complies with federal regulations. Last Action: re-referred to Committee on Assignments on 8/4/17.
Louisiana

2018 Activity:

Legislature will convene on 3/12/18.

Existing Policies:

  • 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
Maryland

2018 Activity:

No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.

Existing Policies:

  • SB424/HB967 (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.
Massachusetts

2018 Activity:

  • S714/S2169 (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.
  • S304 (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 9/05/17.

Existing Policies:

  • 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.
Minnesota

2018 Activity:

No relevant bills have been filed in 2018. 

Existing Policies:

  • 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. This would also provide for an appropriation 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.
New Jersey

2018 Activity:

  • A327/S768: 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: A 327 referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee on 1/9/18 and S768 passed Senate and received in the Assembly, then referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee on 2/1/18.
  • A1149This 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.
New York

2018 Activity:

  • S6608 (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 Committee 1/3/18.
  • A40 (carried over from 2017): authorizes the trustees of the state university of New York to create an academic review board for the review of all textbooks sold, purchased, or used for academic purposes on all state university of New York Campuses – the goal is to serve as an interface between the publishing industry and the management of the independent bookstores and to explore the issue of textbook costs on all campuses. Last Action: referred to Higher Education Committee 1/3/18.
  • A1685 (carried over from 2017): funds libraries, including the New York online virtual electronic library. Funds shall be made available for strengthening the statewide library services that support the development and maintenance of the statewide digital library and electronic access to information. Further, funding is also available for the establishment of a program of statewide access to electronic information by public and nonprofit independent colleges and universities with libraries. Last Action: Referred to Libraries and Education Technology Committee 1/3/18. 
  • A5899 (carried over from 2017): authorizes the regents to create a task force to review the issue of textbook cost and ways to enhance the academic role and delivery of course materials including consideration of used books, textbook rentals, custom materials, the use of open access textbooks, digital textbooks, print on demand technologies, and through greater collaboration between college bookstores and libraries. Last Action: Referred to Higher Education Committee on 2/17/18. 
  • A7221/S2444 (carried over from 2017): requires the Board of trustees of the State University of New York and the City University of New York to conduct a joint study and report on the availability and accessibility of alternative high-quality, lower cost course resources in lieu of traditional textbooks, which may include open education resources, online textbooks and other related educational materials. Last Action: Referred to Higher Education Committee on 1/3/18. 
  • A8296 (carried over from 2017): establishes the New York state open education resources council and New York state open source digital library. The purpose of this bill is to encourage faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower cost, high-quality, open educational resources. This would authorize campuses and community colleges to adopt open educational resources adoption incentive program campus plans and apply for grants to implement such plans. Last Action: Referred to Higher Education Committee on 1/3/18. 
  • A9088This 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: Referred to Higher Education Committee on 1/18/18.

Existing Policies:

  • 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.
North Dakota

2018 Activity:

No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.

Existing Policies:

  • 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.
Ohio

2018 Activity:

No relevant bills have been filed in 2018.

Existing Policies:

  • HB49 (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. 
Oregon

2018 Activity:

Legislature convenes on 2/5/17.

Existing Policies:

  • HB2729 (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. 
  • HB2871 (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.
Pennsylvania

2018 Activity:

  • HB712 (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.
Rhode Island

2018 Activity:

No relevant bills have been filed in 2018. 

Existing Policies:

  • 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.
South Carolina

2018 Activity:

  • S262 (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 3/21/2017.
Texas

2018 Activity:

The legislature will not meet in 2018. 

Existing Policies:

  • SB810 (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.
Virginia

2018 Activity:

  • HB454: 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 also require the development of guidelines for low-cost commercially published materials. Last Action: passed Education Committee with amendments and read in the House on 2/9/18.

Existing Policies:

  • HB2262 (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.
Washington

2018 Activity:

  • HB1253 (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: Reintroduced and retained in present status on 1/8/18.
  • HB1561 (carried over from 2017): the student achievement council shall administer the open educational resources grant pilot program for the four-year institutions of higher education. A grant received shall be used to support faculty to adopt or create open educational resources for the purpose of reducing student’s’ cost of attendance. The Washington state institute for public policy is also required to conduct a study on the cost of textbooks and course materials and the use of open educational resources at four-year institutions of higher education across the state. Last Action: First read and referred to Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee on 1/22/18.
  • HB1768 (carried over from 2017): creates the open educational resources pilot grant program within the student achievement council to create a competitive grant program for the public four-year institutions of higher education to promote, adapt, and create open educational resources and reduce students’ costs of attendance. Six grants shall be awarded for the purpose of promoting the development, adaptation, and use of open educational resources. Last Action: Reintroduced and retained in present status on 1/8/18. 
  • HB1067 (carried over from 2017): Makes 2017-2019 fiscal biennium operating appropriations. Includes two appropriations for the implementation of HB1561 should it be enacted. Last Action: Reintroduced and retained in present status; Rules Committee relieved of further consideration; referred to Appropriations on 1/8/18.

Existing Policies:

  • HB1375 (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.
West Virginia

2018 Activity: 

  • HCR41: 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: Referred to House Education Committee on 2/5/18.

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