SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#University— A bill requiring textbook pricing transparency in California’s higher education systems took a significant step forward this week, passing the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee unanimously with a bipartisan vote 11-0.
AB 2624, written by Assemblyman Ash Kalraenable students to make informed choices by requiring California State Universities (CSU) and California Community Colleges (CCC) and encouraging the University of California (UC) to post the estimated cost of course materials for 75% of the courses offered on the online course planning platform.
The bill is sponsored by the Michelson Center for Public Policy (MCPP).
Gary K. Michelson, MDfounder and co-chair of MCPP, commended Assemblyman Kalra and the work of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee in making the cost of a college education more transparent.
“With the prices of housing, food, transport and health care soaring, our students are suffering like never before. The cost of textbooks is an added burden, and no student should be surprised by expensive materials,” Michelson said. “This bill will ensure that students know in advance how much they will have to pay.”
The Federal Higher Education Opportunities Act of 2008 requires campuses receiving federal funds to disclose textbook costs and textbook ISBNs on the course schedule. In the decade since the Higher Education Opportunities Act was enacted, the scope of materials students must purchase has expanded to include digital homework platforms and other new technologies that are not covered by current law.
“I am grateful to my colleagues on the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee for passing AB 2624 with bipartisan support,” said Assemblyman Kalra. “AB 2624 is a simple step to enable students to make informed decisions about course enrollment in the way that best suits them financially.”
Course materials represent a significant portion of post-secondary education costs, especially at community colleges. Students in California continue to struggle to obtain instructional materials, and a 2020 survey at CSU Channel Islands found that 65% of students said they did not purchase a textbook due to cost. This bill would close this pricing transparency gap by requiring colleges to “prominently display the estimated costs for each course of all required course materials and the fees directly related to those materials, for no less than 75% of courses listed on the online campus calendar”.
“Course materials are one of the biggest expenses we face and one of the least predictable,” said Radha Patel, CALPIRG Students UCLA Chapter President Affordable Textbook Campaign Coordinator and Sociology student. “Not knowing the cost of materials until the week before class makes it difficult for me to plan and budget for the year, which is why I’m thrilled to see AB 2624 exit the committee. Full disclosure course material costs on the course calendar will help students like me plan for success.”
The bill is then presented to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
About the Michelson Center for Public Policy
The Michelson Center for Public Policy is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that propels legislative change through meaningful collaboration with elected officials, government agencies, and civic leaders to achieve positive educational outcomes. , equity, medical research and animal welfare. . The Michelson Center for Public Policy is an affiliated but separate organization from the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations (Michelson 20MM Foundation, Michelson Found Animals Foundation and Michelson Medical Research Foundation) and complements the thought leadership and expertise of Michelson Philanthropies with bold advocacy and efficient. . For more information, visit www.michelsonpolicy.org.