pexels karolina grabowska 5632406SPRINGFIELD – College students in Illinois could see lower textbook purchase and rental costs under legislation filed by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines), which requires colleges and universities to find ways to make course materials more affordable.

“A full-time undergraduate student today spends nearly $1,300 per year on textbooks and supplies. Especially on top of tuition and other fees, that can be overwhelming,” Murphy said. “It’s time to explore more affordable options, like inclusive access models, e-books, and subscription and rental programs.”

The bill would require colleges and universities to consult with administrators, faculty, campus bookstores and publishers to examine current cost-saving practices and identify best practices moving forward with an eye toward improving affordability; supporting remote learning; ensuring access to required course materials by the first day of class; and bettering student outcomes for minority, low-income and first-generation students.

Each institution would report findings to the Board of Higher Education or the Community College Board, and together, these boards would issue a joint report to the governor and the General Assembly.

Between 2006 and 2016, the average cost of college textbooks rose by 73%—four times faster than the rate of inflation—according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. This lack of affordability has caused 65% of students to skip buying required texts at some point in their college career.

“Students can’t learn without the right materials,” Murphy said. “Tackling the high cost of textbooks is a critical step toward making college accessible to every Illinois student.”

Senate Bill 101 has been assigned to the Higher Education Committee.