According to NBC Chicago, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) co-sponsored the "Affordable College Textbook Act" (ACTA) in 2013. As proposed, ACTA would have created a grant program for the creation and use of "open" textbooks--textbooks under an open copyright license and made available online to be used by students, teachers and members of the public for "free"--at the nation's universities and colleges.
At the time, ACTA didn't seem to generate much interest. But, 2 years later, Durbin is going to re-introduce the bill and ACTA may generate a whole lot of interest this time around. Why? The price of textbooks has increased 812% since 1978 (300% greater than the rate of inflation). One study indicates:
- 65% of the 2k students surveyed didn't buy a textbook because it was too expensive, and
- 50% reported deciding upon how many or which classes they took based upon the cost of textbooks.
Don't believe The Motley Monk? Consider what has happened to the price of tuition since the the federal government get into the student loan business. Over the past 3 decades:
- inflation-adjusted tuition and fees have gone up 300%, and
- tuition aid has gone up 400%.
And it's only getting worse, according to a New York Federal Reserve report.
MEANING: The volume of loans is increasing faster than the cost of tuition. Why? The federal goverment has made more money available to students.
IN PLAIN ENGLISH: There are a lot of young adults (and adults who are now enrolling in college for the first time) who are willing to pay whatever it takes to attend the college of choice so long as they generate what it costs. Making more federal $$$s available to those students, the federal government encourages administrators at the nation's universities and colleges to raise tuition? How so? Those administrators know that students will respond by assuming more debt.
The expert in these matters, Neil McCluskey of the Cato Institute, has noted:
It's a vicious cycle. Students tell the politicians, "We don't want to pay this much for college," and politicians respond by throwing more money at them, and colleges respond by increasing costs.
- Why would any sane person expect a different outcome with textbooks and their publishers?
- Why would Senator Durbin ever co-sponsor ACTA? He knows the IRS already allows for a $2.5k textbook and course material tax credit to qualifying families. All they have to do is fill out IRS Form 8863 and file it along with their 1040s.
- What sane person would ever pay 200% of cost for the same item?
None of that seems to bother Senator Durbin. After all, he thinks it's the federal goverment's money to be spent on grants and entitlements--"freebies" to voters--as the nation's legislators determine.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the NBC Chicago report, click on the following link:
To read about how the federal government has increase college tuitions, click on the following link: