By: Kolkhorst  S.B. No. 915
         (In the Senate - Filed March 3, 2015; March 9, 2015, read
  first time and referred to Committee on Higher Education;
  April 13, 2015, reported adversely, with favorable Committee
  Substitute by the following vote:  Yeas 6, Nays 0; April 13, 2015,
  sent to printer.)
Click here to see the committee vote
  relating to the establishment and administration by the Texas
  Higher Education Coordinating Board of a textbook affordability
  pilot program at a public institution of higher education.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter C, Chapter 61, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 61.0667 to read as follows:
  (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "College bookstore" means a bookstore that is:
                     (A)  operated by an institution of higher
  education; or
                     (B)  in a contractual relationship or otherwise
  affiliated with an institution of higher education.
               (2)  "Electronic textbook" means a textbook accessed
  through computer software, interactive videodisc, magnetic media,
  CD-ROM, computer courseware, online services, an electronic
  medium, or other means of conveying information to the student or
  otherwise contributing to the learning process through electronic
  means, including an open-source textbook.
               (3)  "Eligible institution" means an institution of
  higher education that has:
                     (A)  a total undergraduate student enrollment of
  more than 18,000; and
                     (B)  a college bookstore.
               (4)  "Open-source textbook" means an electronic
  textbook that is available for downloading from the Internet at no
  charge to a student and without requiring the purchase of an unlock
  code, membership, or other access or use charge, except for a charge
  to order an optional printed copy of all or part of the textbook.
         (b)  The board shall establish and administer a pilot program
  to encourage the use of affordable textbooks at institutions of
  higher education. The board shall select one eligible institution
  to participate in the pilot program.
         (c)  The board by rule shall establish the application
  process and selection criteria for participation in the pilot
  program. If no eligible institutions apply, the board may select
  any eligible institution to participate in the pilot program.
         (d)  The board shall designate one academic department of the
  selected eligible institution to implement the pilot program. The
  designated department shall:
               (1)  to the greatest extent possible, use electronic or
  open-source textbooks, open educational resources, public domain
  material, or other free or low-cost textbooks or textbook
  alternatives for each course offered through the department; 
               (2)  notify the institution's college bookstore of each
  textbook or textbook alternative that has been adopted for use in a
  course offered through the department and that will be distributed
  through the bookstore; and
               (3)  maintain records of the cost of textbooks and
  textbook alternatives for each course offered through the
  department for the duration of the pilot program.
         (e)  On receipt of notice from the designated department
  under Subsection (d)(2), the selected eligible institution's
  college bookstore shall notify the designated department of the
  anticipated cost to a student of each textbook or textbook
  alternative that has been adopted for use in a course offered
  through the department and that will be distributed through the
         (f)  Not later than December 1, 2018, the board shall submit
  to the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house of
  representatives, and presiding officer of each standing
  legislative committee with primary jurisdiction over higher
  education a report on the success of the pilot program under this
  section and any recommendations for legislative or other action.
  The report must include a comparison of the average cost of
  textbooks for courses offered through the department designated
  under Subsection (d) to implement the pilot program and for courses
  offered through departments at other institutions of higher
  education that have implemented a similar textbook affordability
         (g)  On request by the board, the eligible institution
  selected to participate in the pilot program shall assist in
  preparing the report required under Subsection (f).
         (h)  The board may solicit and accept gifts, grants, and
  donations from any public or private source to prepare the report
  and develop recommendations as required by Subsection (f).
         (i)  The board shall adopt rules as necessary to implement
  this section.
         (j)  This section expires September 1, 2019.
         SECTION 2.  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  shall implement the pilot program required under Section 61.0667,
  Education Code, as added by this Act, beginning with the 2015-2016
  academic year.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
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