House passes Van Werven legislation addressing textbook costs for community and technical colleges

On Wednesday, the Washington State House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 1702, a measure that would let community and technical college students know whether “low cost” materials are available for their college course.

Rep. Luanne Van Werven, the prime sponsor of the bill, has been working with students from around the state to address the costs associated with higher education including course materials.

“It is a transparency measure. Providing students more information on the cost and affordability of course materials allows them to make more financially sound decisions related to their higher education,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “The cost of a college education has skyrocketed and textbooks are a large part of the increased expenses.

“Tuition and textbook costs have increased by more than 200 percent over the last twenty years,” added Van Werven. “This bill is an important step in textbook affordability.”

The bill requires community and technical colleges to let students know at the time of registration whether “low-cost” materials are available. “Low cost” is defined as $50 or less. Students would also be notified when free online textbooks are used in college courses.

In 2017, the Legislature passed Van Werven’s legislation requiring community and technical colleges to include notification in the online course catalog if free open education resources (OER) are available for college courses.

The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 12.


Washington State House Republican Communications