Foundation Lauds New Effort Announced by Senators, Congress on Policy to Reduce Cost of College Textbooks

Nov 14, 2013, 15:09 ET from The 20 Million Minds Foundation

PASADENA, Calif., Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 20 Million Minds Foundation (20MM), an organization focused on bringing higher education into the digital age, commends Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Al Franken (D-Minnesota) on their legislative push to expand the use of open textbooks in higher education to achieve savings for students.  The "Affordable College Textbook Act" will help promote several longstanding state and local philanthropic efforts to provide free open textbooks through a national incentive grant program.

As California goes, so goes the nation.  Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law California's landmark Open Textbook Digital Library legislation, authored by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, resulting in the nation's first open textbook push.  Taking California's lead, Virginia, Illinois, and Minnesota all introduced similar legislation this year, while Florida and Texas have also expressed interest in creating new open textbook policies for their respective states in the near future.

"Today's introduction of groundbreaking, national legislation by Senators Durbin and Franken will help our open textbook efforts significantly because it will incentivize all 50 states to participate in a movement already shaking up higher education and saving students millions of dollars," said Dean Florez, President and CEO of 20MM.

The introduction of the Senators' bill will prompt the nation to adopt open books through a federal push, saving states considerable time and effort.  "Our foundation has focused on educating policy makers throughout the nation on the need for government participation in funding open textbooks," said Florez, "philanthropy can't do it alone; government partnerships will be invaluable in scaling these efforts."

To date, OpenStax College, a Rice University initiative funded by 20MM and other philanthropic foundations, has released five high quality open textbooks in large enrollment courses.  Intro to Sociology, College Physics, Biology, Concepts of Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology have already been adopted at over 300 institutions producing over $4 million in student savings.  OpenStax College plans to release an additional seven titles in 2014.

The 20 Million Minds Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing higher education into the digital age through public and private partnerships that increase access, affordability, and student success.  |  @20MillionMinds

CONTACT: Reid E. Milburn

Tel. (626) 396-7071

SOURCE The 20 Million Minds Foundation