Bennett floor 2022 Feb


SPRINGFIELD – Senate Higher Education Chair Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is breaking down barriers for Illinois students seeking a college education with his free textbook incentive legislation that passed committee Tuesday.

“A huge issue that students seeking a college education face today is affordability of course materials,” Bennett said. “By eliminating a significant educational expense for our students staying in-state for college, we are removing a huge financial burden for students and families.”

According to The College Board, the average student budget for college books and supplies during the 2020-2021 academic year was $1,298 at four-year public institutions. A survey conducted by the U.S. PIRG found that 65% of students decided not to buy a textbook because of the cost, and 94% of those students worried it would negatively affect their grade.

Under Bennett’s proposal – Senate Bill 3856 – public universities and community colleges would be required to provide all necessary coursework materials for rental free of charge for Illinois students.

Many public universities and community colleges, such as Southern Illinois University, already include free textbook rentals in their tuition and fee costs for all students. Recent studies have found that these more affordable course materials can deliver student cost savings of 29% to 35% annually.

“Courses can offer the best materials to students, but if they can’t afford them then it’s not benefiting anyone,” Bennett said. “This legislation will allow Illinois students to better plan for their secondary education.”

Bennett’s legislation passed the committee.