Van Werven bill to make textbook costs more transparent passes House

On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives passed a measure that would provide community and technical college students the costs of required textbooks and course materials before they sign up for class.

House Bill 1375 would require community and technical colleges (CTCs) to include the costs of required textbooks and course materials in the online course catalogs during the registration process or provide a direct link to a bookstore so students can view prices.

Rep. Luanne Van Werven, the prime sponsor of the bill, says the legislation is student driven.

“Every student group I have talked to has legitimate concerns about textbook costs and it is one of the biggest financial challenges they face in obtaining a degree,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “As we work on improving the affordability of higher education, this is one of the areas we can help control costs and add some transparency. This bill would allow students to know the full price of a course selection and textbook costs before they register.”

Studies show the costs of textbooks have increased 88 percent from 2006-2016.

“With all the higher-education opportunities available in my district, it is my priority to continue to find ways to assist students with making higher education more affordable and accessible. Under this bill, students at Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College would benefit. I appreciate our local students’ help in passing this legislation,” Van Werven said.

Under the legislation, CTCs must also indicate in the online course catalogs whether open educational resources (OERs) are used once the college implements the ctcLink system.

The bill passed unanimously, 97-0. It is now headed to the Senate for consideration.

The regular legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 23.


Washington State House Republican Communications