On Monday, the state House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure that would let community and technical college students know whether “low-cost” materials are available for their college courses.

Rep. Luanne Van Werven, the prime sponsor of the bill, says House Bill 1702 comes from working with students from around the state.

“This legislation is a part of my ongoing efforts to make college textbooks and tuition more affordable to our students. The cost of tuition and textbooks has increased by more than 200 percent over the last twenty years. That is significantly more than the cost of living,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “Adding some transparency to the cost of textbooks is another step to making higher education more affordable.”

The legislation requires community and technical colleges to inform students 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, Van Werven was able to pass legislation into law 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 105-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 28.

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