20 U.S. Code § 1015b - Textbook information
(a) Purpose and intent
The purpose of this section is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. It is the intent of this section to encourage all of the involved parties, including faculty, students, administrators, institutions of higher education, bookstores, distributors, and publishers, to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students.
In this section:
The term “bundle” means one or more college textbooks or other supplemental materials that may be packaged together to be sold as course materials for one price.
(2) College textbook
The term “college textbook” means a textbook or a set of textbooks, used for, or in conjunction with, a course in postsecondary education at an institution of higher education.
(3) Course schedule
The term “course schedule” means a listing of the courses or classes offered by an institution of higher education for an academic period, as defined by the institution.
(4) Custom textbook
The term “custom textbook”—
(A) means a college textbook that is compiled by a publisher at the direction of a faculty member or other person or adopting entity in charge of selecting course materials at an institution of higher education; and
(5) Institution of higher education
The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in section 1002 of this title.
(6) Integrated textbook
The term “integrated textbook” means a college textbook that is—
(A) combined with materials developed by a third party and that, by third-party contractual agreement, may not be offered by publishers separately from the college textbook with which the materials are combined; or
The term “publisher” means a publisher of college textbooks or supplemental materials involved in or affecting interstate commerce.
(8) Substantial content
The term “substantial content” means parts of a college textbook such as new chapters, new material covering additional eras of time, new themes, or new subject matter.
(9) Supplemental material
The term “supplemental material” means educational material developed to accompany a college textbook that—
(A) may include printed materials, computer disks, website access, and electronically distributed materials; and
(c) Publisher requirements
(1) College textbook pricing information
When a publisher provides a faculty member or other person or adopting entity in charge of selecting course materials at an institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance with information regarding a college textbook or supplemental material, the publisher shall include, with any such information and in writing (which may include electronic communications), the following:
(A) The price at which the publisher would make the college textbook or supplemental material available to the bookstore on the campus of, or otherwise associated with, such institution of higher education and, if available, the price at which the publisher makes the college textbook or supplemental material available to the public.
(C) A description of the substantial content revisions made between the current edition of the college textbook or supplemental material and the previous edition, if any.
(i) Whether the college textbook or supplemental material is available in any other format, including paperback and unbound; and
(ii) for each other format of the college textbook or supplemental material, the price at which the publisher would make the college textbook or supplemental material in the other format available to the bookstore on the campus of, or otherwise associated with, such institution of higher education and, if available, the price at which the publisher makes such other format of the college textbook or supplemental material available to the public.
(2) Unbundling of college textbooks from supplemental materials
A publisher that sells a college textbook and any supplemental material accompanying such college textbook as a single bundle shall also make available the college textbook and each supplemental material as separate and unbundled items, each separately priced.
(d) Provision of ISBN college textbook information in course schedules
To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall—
(1) disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes, except that—
(A) if the International Standard Book Number is not available for such college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall include in the Internet course schedule the author, title, publisher, and copyright date for such college textbook or supplemental material; and
(B) if the institution determines that the disclosure of the information described in this subsection is not practicable for a college textbook or supplemental material, then the institution shall so indicate by placing the designation “To Be Determined” in lieu of the information required under this subsection; and
(e) Availability of information for college bookstores
An institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall make available to a college bookstore that is operated by, or in a contractual relationship or otherwise affiliated with, the institution, as soon as is practicable upon the request of such college bookstore, the most accurate information available regarding—
(2) for each course or class offered by the institution for the subsequent academic period—
(A) the information required by subsection (d)(1) for each college textbook or supplemental material required or recommended for such course or class;
(f) Additional information
An institution disclosing the information required by subsection (d)(1) is encouraged to disseminate to students information regarding—
(g) GAO report
Not later than July 1, 2013, the Comptroller General of the United States shall report to the authorizing committees on the implementation of this section by institutions of higher education, college bookstores, and publishers. The report shall particularly examine—
(2) the provision of pricing information to faculty of institutions of higher education by publishers;
(3) the use of bundled and unbundled material in the college textbook marketplace, including the adoption of unbundled materials by faculty and the use of integrated textbooks by publishers; and
(h) Rule of construction
Nothing in this section shall be construed to supercede the institutional autonomy or academic freedom of instructors involved in the selection of college textbooks, supplemental materials, and other classroom materials.
Source(Pub. L. 89–329, title I, § 133, as added Pub. L. 110–315, title I, § 112(a),Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3107.)
A prior section 1015b,Pub. L. 89–329, title I, § 133, as added Pub. L. 102–325, title I, § 101,July 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 466, related to activities for which grants could be used, prior to the general amendment of this subchapter by Pub. L. 105–244.
Another prior section 1015b,Pub. L. 89–329, title I, § 133, as added Pub. L. 94–482, title I, § 101(g)(3),Oct. 12, 1976, 90 Stat. 2087; amended Pub. L. 95–43, § 1(a)(4),June 15, 1977, 91 Stat. 213, related to implementation of lifelong learning program by Assistant Secretary, prior to the general amendment of this subchapter by Pub. L. 96–374.
Pub. L. 110–315, title I, § 112(b),Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3110, provided that: “The amendment made by subsection (a) [enacting this section] shall take effect on July 1, 2010.”
Establishment of Pilot Program for Course Material Rental
“(a) Pilot Grant Program.—From the amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (e), the Secretary of Education (referred to in this section as the ‘Secretary’) shall make grants on a competitive basis to not more than ten institutions of higher education to support pilot programs that expand the services of bookstores to provide the option for students to rent course materials in order to achieve savings for students.
“(b) Application.—An institution of higher education that desires to obtain a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such form, and containing or accompanied by such information, agreements, and assurances as the Secretary may reasonably require.
“(c) Use of Funds.—The funds made available by a grant under this section may be used for—
“(1) purchase of course materials that the entity will make available by rent to students;
“(2) any equipment or software necessary for the conduct of a rental program;
“(3) hiring staff needed for the conduct of a rental program, with priority given to hiring enrolled undergraduate students; and
“(4) building or acquiring extra storage space dedicated to course materials for rent.
“(d) Evaluation and Report.—
“(1) Evaluations by recipients.—After a period of time to be determined by the Secretary, each institution of higher education that receives a grant under this section shall submit a report to the Secretary on the effectiveness of their rental programs in reducing textbook costs for students.
“(2) Report to congress.—Not later than September 30, 2010, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress on the effectiveness of the textbook rental pilot programs under this section, and identify the best practices developed in such pilot programs. Such report shall contain an estimate by the Secretary of the savings achieved by students who participate in such pilot programs.
“(e) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.”
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