California Senate passes OER plan for public postsecondary schools

OPEN BOOKS: OER books seem to be heading to California public universities and colleges. On Friday August 31, the state Senate unanimously passed a bill (SB 1052) that provides for the "selection, development and administration" of free open digital textbooks for the 50 most popular lower-division courses. The legislation will support requests for proposals (RFPs) for such books, which will be made available under Creative Common licenses. A companion bill (SB 1053) would create the California Open Source Digital Library to house the textbooks and courseware. 

"At a time when the cost of attending California’s public colleges and universities is skyrocketing, relief is only a signature away as both SB 1052 and 1053 await Governor Jerry Brown’s signature," said 20 Million Minds Foundation President Dean Florez, in a statement. Printing out of the OER texts is expected to cost about $20; by contrast, new textbooks can cost ten times as much.

The bill is likely to go to Governor Brown next week; he will have until the end of September to act on it. The program is expected to cost $10M, with half the financing coming from untapped funds in the governor's scholarship program (GSP) and half from private sources.

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