Newsom wants to fund free textbooks, fight “racket” | #students | #parents

In summary

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend $15 million to develop more degree programs that include free textbooks, taking aim at the “usurious costs” of commercial textbooks today. The state spent $5 million on a similar program in 2016-17.

The price of college textbooks is often top of mind for college students, for understandable reasons, but also the governor, apparently. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom called textbooks a “racket” during his press conference unveiling his budget proposal last week, saying he was “committed” to addressing the “usurious costs associated with textbooks.” “And so we’re going to do more this year… on open source textbooks,” he said. The typical full-time college student in California spends $800 on textbooks and related materials annually. 

As part of Newsom’s record-breaking $227 billion spending plan, the governor wants to commit $15 million to create free alternatives to commercial textbooks — a $3.2 billion industry — that colleges and universities can adopt for entire majors. These textbooks, called open-educational resources, are typically online and are some combination of currently available instructional content and new learning materials that professors develop. 

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