BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SB 1359            
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          |Author:    |Block                                                |
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          |Version:   |March 28, 2016                          Hearing      |
          |           |Date:     April 6, 2016                              |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Lynn Lorber                                          |
          |           |                                                     |
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          Subject:  Public postsecondary education:  education materials:   
          textbooks


            SUMMARY
          
          This bill requires each campus of the California Community  
          Colleges and the California State University, and requests each  
          campus of the University of California, to clearly identify in  
          each published schedule of classes the estimated total costs of  
          required textbooks and other required educational materials for  
          each course offered by the campus.

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing federal law, the Higher Education Opportunity Act:

             1)   Requires each institution of higher education (IHE) that  
               receives federal financial assistance, to the maximum  
               extent possible, to:

                  a)        Disclose, on the IHE's online course schedule,  
                    the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and  
                    retail price information of required and recommended  
                    textbooks and supplemental materials for each course  
                    listed in the course schedule.

                  b)        Include on the IHE's written course schedule a  
                    notice that textbook information is available on the  
                    IHE's online course schedule, and the web link to that  







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                    schedule.

             1)   Provides exceptions to the disclosure requirement as  
               follows:

                  a)        If the ISBN is not available, the IHE is  
                    required to include the author, title, publisher, and  
                    copyright date.

                  b)        If the IHE determines that the disclosure of  
                    the price is not practicable for a textbook or  
                    supplemental material, the IHE is required to so  
                    indicate by placing the designation "To Be Determined"  
                    in lieu of the price.

             1)   Encourages IHE's to also provide to students information  
               regarding:

                  a)        Available institutional programs for renting  
                    textbooks or for purchasing used textbooks.

                  b)        Available institutional guaranteed textbook  
                    buy-back programs.

                  c)        Available institutional alternative content  
                    delivery programs.

                  d)        Other available institutional cost-saving  
                    strategies.

             1)   Requires each institution of higher education (IHE) that  
               receives federal financial assistance to make available to  
               college bookstores that are operated or affiliated with the  
               institution the most accurate information available  
               regarding the IHE's course schedule for the subsequent  
               academic period and the information described in #1-2 above  
               for each course or class offered for the subsequent  
               academic period. 

             2)   Provides that the information is to be provided to the  
               college bookstore as soon as is practicable upon the  
               request of the college bookstore.  
          (United States Code, Title 20, § 1015)









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          Existing state law:

             1)   The College Textbook Transparency Act, requires each  
               campus bookstore at any public postsecondary educational  
               institution to post in its store or on its website a  
               disclosure of the retail price policy on new and used  
               textbooks.   
           (Education Code § 66406.7)
           
              2)   The College Textbook Affordability Act, establishes the  
               Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive Program to  
               incentivize faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower  
               cost, high-quality, open educational resources (OERs) at  
               campuses of the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the  
               California State University (CSU).  This program provides  
               funding for faculty professional development, professional  
               development for staff, OER curation activities, curriculum  
               modification and requisite release time for faculty, and  
               technology support.  (EC § 67420)

             3)   Establishes the California Digital Open Source Library,  
               administered by the California State University (CSU) in  
               coordination with the CCC, for the purpose of housing open  
               source materials while providing web-based access for  
               students, faculty and staff to find, adopt, utilize, or  
               modify course materials for little or no cost.  (EC §  
               66408)

             4)   Establishes the California Open Education Resources  
               Council and requires the council to be responsible for,  
               among other things, developing a list of 50 strategically  
               selected lower division courses in the public postsecondary  
               segments for which high-quality, affordable, digital open  
               source textbooks and related materials are to be developed  
               or acquired.  (EC § 66409)

             5)   Requires the CSU Trustees and the CCC Board of  
               Governors, and requests the Regents of the University of  
               California, to work with the academic senates to encourage  
               faculty to give consideration to the least costly practices  
               in assigning textbooks and to encourage faculty to disclose  
               to students how new editions of textbooks are different  
               from previous editions.  Existing law also urges textbook  
               publishers to provide information to faculty when they are  








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               considering what textbooks to order, and to post  
               information on the publishers' websites, including an  
               explanation of how the newest edition is different from  
               previous editions.  In addition, publishers are asked to  
               disclose to faculty the length of time they intend to  
               produce the current edition and provide faculty free copies  
               of each textbook selected.  (Education Code § 66406) 

            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill requires each campus of the California Community  
          Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU) to  
          identify in the course schedule the estimated total costs of  
          required textbooks and other materials for each course offered  
          by the campus.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)   Requires each campus of the CCC and the CSU to clearly  
               identify in each published schedule of classes the  
               estimated total costs of required textbooks and other  
               required educational materials for each course offered by  
               the campus.

          2)   Requests each campus of the University of California to  
               clearly identify in each published schedule of classes the  
               estimated total costs of required textbooks and other  
               required educational materials for each course offered by  
               the campus.

          3)   Defines "schedule of classes" as a collection of available  
               classes, course sections, or both, published in print or  
               electronically, before the start of an academic term.

          STAFF COMMENTS
          
          1)   Need for the bill.  According to the author, "Textbook cost  
               transparency is critical for students to make clear,  
               informed decisions about their course enrollments.  Trends  
               indicate that there has been a steady increase in the cost  
               of textbooks in the past six years, and the annual cost of  
               textbooks at the California State University is estimated  
               to be nearly $1,000 in 2014.  The Legislature has approved  
               various measures aimed at increasing the use and production  
               of quality Open-Educational Resources (OERs), or free  
               textbooks and educational materials that are in the public  








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               domain.  OERs can offset and mitigate the high cost of  
               textbooks, but their adoption has been slow.  Clear  
               disclosure of estimated textbook costs could encourage the  
               more widespread adoption of OERs, which could help drive  
               down textbook costs."

          2)   Existing federal law.  Existing federal law requires each  
               institution of higher education (IHE) that receives federal  
               financial assistance, to the maximum extent possible, to  
               disclose, on the IHE's online course schedule, the  
               International Standard Book Number and retail price  
               information of required and recommended textbooks and  
               supplemental materials for each course listed in the course  
               schedule.  It appears that IHEs are meeting this  
               requirement in different ways; many IHEs include a separate  
               link to textbook pricing information, but do not include  
               the price next the each course description in the course  
               schedule.


          Staff recommends an amendment to include a cross-reference to  
               existing price disclosure requirements, and require the  
               CCCs and CSUs to ensure price disclosures are clearly  
               listed in the course schedule with the description of each  
               course.
          
          3)   Practical effect.  This bill varies from existing federal  
               law in the following ways:

               a)        Federal law requires disclosure of the retail  
                    price of each textbook but does not require a total  
                    cost to be provided.  Will disclosure of the total  
                    cost illuminate courses that utilize open source  
                    materials?  

               b)        Federal law requires disclosure of the price of  
                    textbooks and supplemental materials, while this bill  
                    requires disclosure of the total cost of textbooks and  
                    other required educational materials.  It is unclear  
                    if there is a distinction, or if this bill requires  
                    the disclosure of the price of materials not already  
                    covered by federal law.  Federal law requires  
                    disclosure of the price of required and recommended  
                    materials, while this bill requires disclosure of  








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                    other required educational materials.  Staff  
                    recommends an amendment to specify that the total  
                    costs are to be disclosed for required and recommended  
                    textbooks and other educational materials.

               c)        Federal law requires disclosure in online course  
                    schedules, and requires disclosure in printed  
                    schedules of the link to the online schedule.  This  
                    bill expands disclosure by requiring it in all  
                    published course schedules, thereby requiring the  
                    price disclosure to also be included in any printed  
                    schedule.

               d)        Federal law requires disclosure for each course  
                    listed in the course schedule.  This bill expands  
                    disclosure by requiring price information for each  
                    course offered by campus.  It is unclear how many, or  
                    what type, of courses may be offered by not listed in  
                    the course schedule.

          4)   Open Educational Resources.  Open Educational Resources  
               (OERs) are educational materials that include textbooks,  
               research articles, videos, assessments, or simulations that  
               are either licensed under an open copyright license or are  
               in the public domain.  OERs provide no- or low-cost access  
               and permission to revise, reuse, remix, or redistribute the  
               materials.  OERs enable faculty to customize learning  
               materials to suit their course objectives, as well as  
               provides students access to no- or low-cost educational  
               materials.
          
          5)   Existing efforts to increase access to OERs.  The  
               California Open Education Resources Council reports that it  
               has thus far selected the 50 courses, identified more than  
               150 appropriate OERs for said courses, developed a  
               standardized peer review and approval process, and  
               recruited faculty to conduct the reviews.  As of December  
               2015, the California Open Education Resources Council had  
               identified more than 160 appropriate OER textbooks for the  
               50 courses.  The California Open Online Library for  
               Education, known as COOL4Ed, houses open textbooks, open  
               course materials, open courses, open access journals and  
               articles, textbook reviews, among other resources.   
               [http://www.cool4ed.org/index.html]








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          The multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online  
               Teaching (MERLOT), led by the California State University,  
               offers free access to more than 60,000 peer-reviewed online  
               teaching and learning materials across a wide range of  
               disciplines.
          
          6)   Related Budget activity.  The Governor's 2016-17 Budget  
               proposes $5 million in one-time funds to create  
               "Zero-Textbook-Cost Degrees" at the California Community  
               Colleges.  These degrees would allow students to complete a  
               degree entirely by taking courses that use only free  
               instructional materials.  Under the Governor's proposal,  
               community colleges would compete for grants up to $500,000  
               each to offer a zero-textbook-cost associate degree,  
               certificate, or credential program.
          
          7)   Timing is everything.  Existing federal law requires IHE's  
               to make available to college bookstores the most accurate  
               information available as soon as is practicable.  It is  
               crucial for the bookstore to have the list of required  
               textbooks and other materials, as well as the price of each  
               material, prior to publication of the schedule of courses.   
               Staff recommends an amendment to specify that the most  
               accurate information is to be disclosed in the course  
               schedule to allow for the most-recently known total price  
               to be disclosed in situations where the total price of new  
               editions, for example, is unknown at the time the course  
               schedule is published.  

          8)   Technical amendments.  The author intends the total cost to  
               assume purchase of a new textbook or other materials, and  
               if purchased from the campus bookstore.  Staff recommends  
               amendments to make these clarifications.

          9)   Related legislation.  AB 2214 (Harper) requires faculty of  
               the California State University (CSU) and the California  
               Community Colleges (CCC) to annually disclose all income  
               received for royalties, advances, consulting services, or  
               for any other purpose.  AB 2214 scheduled to be heard by  
               the Assembly Higher Education Committee on April 12.

          AB 1914 (Bonilla) requires the California State University and  
               the California Community Colleges, and requests the  








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               University of California (UC), to adopt policies for their  
               respective segments regarding when it is acceptable for a  
               faculty member to require students to purchase academic  
               materials, including, but not necessarily limited to,  
               textbooks and access codes.  AB 1914 is pending in the  
               Assembly Higher Education Committee.

          10)  Prior legislation.  AB 456 (Patterson, 2015) requires the  
               California State University, and requests the University of  
               California, to offer discounted electronic textbook rentals  
               to their students for each textbook assigned in a course,  
               if the content of the electronic and printed versions of  
               the textbook are the same.  AB 456 was never heard.

          AB 2471 (Lara, 2011) required e-textbooks used in courses at the  
               state's postsecondary institutions to include specified  
               consumer protections, and requires the institutions to  
               adopt rules consistent with these requirements.  AB 2471  
               was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

          SB 1328 (De León, 2011) required a publisher to provide textbook  
               data in specified formats; encouraged public and private  
               postsecondary institutions to develop faculty textbook  
               adoption search engines with specified functions; and  
               required campus bookstores at private and public  
               postsecondary institutions to provide a student textbook  
               comparison engine on their Web sites.  SB 1328 was referred  
               to but not heard in the Assembly Higher Education  
               Committee.

          SB 216 (Liu, 2009) required the CSU and the CCC to post a list  
               of required textbooks for each course on the internet at  
               least 30 days prior to the first day of class, including  
               the price charged for each textbook, and required each  
               instructor or academic department to confirm the intent to  
               use each individual item sold as 
               part of a bundled package of instructional materials before  
               the final adoption of the material.  SB 216 was held in the  
               Senate Appropriations Committee.

               SB 386 (Runner, 2009) required a faculty member at the  
               California Community Colleges or the California State  
               University who adopts a new edition of a textbook within  
               three years after the adoption of a previous edition of  








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               that textbook to prepare a justification for the adoption  
               of the new edition.  SB 386 was held in the Senate  
               Appropriations Committee.

           SUPPORT
          
          None received.

            OPPOSITION
           
           None received.

                                      -- END --