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AB-403 Fair Access to College Textbooks Act.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/26/2021 04:00 AM
AB403:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 403


Introduced by Assembly Members Kalra, Bonta, and Salas

February 03, 2021


An act to add Chapter 6.1 (commencing with Section 66420) to Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, relating to postsecondary education.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 403, as amended, Kalra. Fair Access to College Textbooks Act.
Existing law establishes the California Community Colleges, under the administration of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, under the administration of the Trustees of the California State University, the University of California, under the administration of the Regents of the University of California, independent institutions of higher education, and private postsecondary educational institutions as the segments of postsecondary education in the state. Existing law requires each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University, and requests each campus of the University of California, to identify in the online version of the campus course schedule its courses that exclusively use digital course materials, as specified, and communicate to students that the course materials for these courses are free of charge and therefore not required to be purchased. Provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act apply to the University of California only to the extent that the regents act, by resolution, to make them applicable.
This bill would establish the Fair Access to College Textbooks Act as part of the Donahoe Higher Education Act. The act would prohibit a campus of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, an independent institution of higher education, or a private postsecondary educational institution from assessing an automatic charge for instructional materials, as defined, to a student, or enter into an agreement with a book publisher or other entity to assess the charge, and would prohibit those institutions from calculating an automatic charge to be assessed under these provisions on the basis of the number of credit hours in which the student enrolls, number of courses in which the student enrolls, a student’s major or program, or any other basis other than the cost of the specific instructional materials required or recommended for a specific course or course section in which the student enrolls, unless certain conditions are met. The bill would request each campus of the University of California to comply with these provisions. The bill would provide that these provisions only apply to a contract entered into or renewed after January 1, 2022.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Chapter 6.1 (commencing with Section 66420) is added to Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:
CHAPTER  6.1. Fair Access to College Textbooks Act

66420.
 This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the Fair Access to College Textbooks Act.

66421.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Automatic charge for instructional materials” means a charge assessed to a student by an institution of higher education, or entity authorized by the institution, on the basis of the student’s enrollment in a course or program for the purpose of providing access to instructional materials for such course or program. “Automatic charge for instructional materials” does not include tuition.
(b) “Independent institution of higher education” has the same meaning as in Section 66010.
(c) “Institution of higher education” means a campus of the California State University, the California Community Colleges, the University of California, an independent institution of higher education, and a private postsecondary educational institution.
(d) “Instructional materials” means content in any medium or combination of media used or intended to be used for conveying information to a student in an educational context. “Instructional materials” includes, but is not limited to, a book, supplementary material, computer software, magnetic media, DVD, CD-ROM, computer courseware, online subscription, streaming videos, or other means of conveying content to the student or otherwise contributing to the learning process through electronic means. The term also includes packages or bundles of multiple instructional materials.

(e)“Open educational resources” are high-quality teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license, such as a Creative Commons license, that permits their free use and repurposing by others, and may include other resources that are legally available and free of cost to students. “Open educational resources” include, but are not limited to, full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, faculty-created content, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

(f)

(e) “Private postsecondary educational institution” has the same meaning as in Section 94858.
(f) “Student” means both full-time and part-time undergraduate students.

66422.
 (a) A campus of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, an independent institution of higher education, or a private postsecondary educational institution shall not, and each campus of the University of California is requested not to, assess an automatic charge for instructional materials to a student, or enter into an agreement with a book publisher or other entity to assess the charge, unless all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The automatic charge for instructional materials assessed to each student is substantially less than the price at which a student could acquire the same or substantially similar instructional materials in a similar format, in similar condition, and with no less restrictive rental or digital access terms, if any, from any other source generally available to the student.
(2) The instructional materials assigned for a course are made available no later than the first day of the term to each student who enrolls in the course at least seven days before the first day of the term, and no later than seven days after enrollment for those who enroll thereafter.
(3) The institution of higher education adopts a policy under which a student is automatically charged only if the student opts in to having the cost of instructional materials included in the fees automatically charged to the student for enrollment in a course, and provides that a student may not be required to opt in for the automatic charge in order to participate in, or to successfully complete, the course.
(4) The full amount of the automatic charge is disclosed in, or linked from, the listing for the course or course section in the institution’s online course schedule, and is itemized the amount is specified separately from any other charges associated with the course or course section.

(b)A campus of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, an independent institution of higher education, or a private postsecondary educational institution shall not, and each campus of the University of California is requested not to, calculate a charge to be automatically assessed under subdivision (a) on the basis of the number of credit hours in which the student enrolls, number of courses in which the student enrolls, a student’s major or program, or any other basis other than the cost of the specific instructional materials required or recommended for a specific course or course section in which the student enrolls, unless the institution of higher education does both of the following:

(1)Adopts a policy that ensures that the automatic charge is not assessed to any student for a course section in which the student is enrolled for which all required instructional materials are generally available to the student at no cost in at least one form, such as open educational resources, free materials created for the course, digital materials that students can access at no charge through the institution’s library internet website, or other materials generally available to all students enrolled in the course section without additional charges or limitations.

(2)Holds a binding student election on the implementation of an automatic charge under this subdivision, and any subsequent increase to the amount of that charge, and a majority of the student body voting on the question in each case votes affirmatively.

(c)

(b) This section only applies to a contract entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2022.