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State and Federal Policy

Textbook affordability and open educational resources are affected by both federal and state policy in Oregon.

Federal policy

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) requires “transparency and disclosure” of information about course materials. The policy requires, “to the maximum extent practicable,” that the online course schedule include the ISBN and price of required course materials. The HEOA contains one big loophole: institutions can post “To Be Determined” instead of ISBN/price information and still be in compliance with the policy.

State policy

HB 2871 (2015) included several components: designation of courses using low-cost and no-cost materials in the schedule; establishing a grant program; and the funding of an OER specialist in 2015-2017.

HB 2729 (2017) supported ongoing textbook affordability work by convening stakeholders from community colleges and universities into a statewide OER steering committee; continuing the OER grant program to fund public postsecondary institutions to create or adapt OER course materials; and evaluating progress.

HB 2213 (2019) expanded on textbook affordability by requiring public institutions to establish and adopt textbook affordability plans.

Statewide OER Librarian

On behalf of the Oregon Community College Distance Learning Association, Linn-Benton Community College hired a statewide Open Educational Resources Librarian who started work on January 4, 2015. This position was funded solely by Community College Support Funds for Distance Learning through the Oregon Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development through June 30, 2017.

With the passage of HB 2729 (2017), the Higher Education Coordinating Commission contracted with LBCC in order for the OER Librarian to implement an OER program in Oregon’s colleges and universities. HB 2213 (2019) continued this arrangement. Additional funding from the CCWD has enabled the OER Librarian to continue to offer grants specifically for community college faculty.

The OER Librarian works with Oregon’s community colleges and universities to develop the website and leads statewide professional development and program assessment activities to advance adoption of OER and lower course materials costs for students.

More information

State and Federal Legislation in Marking Open and Affordable Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies by Breeman Ainsworth, Nicole Allen, Jessica Dai, Abbey Elder, Nicole Finkbeiner, Amie Freeman, Sarah Hare, Kris Helge, Nicole Helregel, Jeanne Hoover, Jessica Kirschner, Joy Perrin, Jacquelyn Ray, Jennifer Raye, Michelle Reed, John Schoppert, and Liz Thompson.