Automatic Textbook Billing + U.S. Response + Outside U.S.?

Hello everyone,
If you’re on the CCCOER Listserv you’ve probably already seen this news, but it can’t hurt to share here!

Nicole Allen with SPARC has been keeping us all in the loop as negotiations continue. Nicole (SPARC) and Lilana Diaz (WICHE) led several webinars recently (one during Open Education Week for CCCOER on the topic) and you can find the recording + slides here.

The latest news is that the U.S. released a new fact sheet on action to crack down on ‘junk fees’ in higher education. Specifically, I’ll highlight the section on automatic billing:
Eliminating Automatic Charges for Textbooks: The Department is undergoing negotiated rulemaking to reduce costs incurred by students in addition to tuition in higher education by ending the practice of automatic billing on tuition for textbooks. Under the draft proposal, students would now need to authorize a charge on their tuition bill for course materials. Competitive markets provide consumers choice and value, but automatic charges for textbooks and course materials leave students with little ability to meaningfully shop around for better prices or to utilize free and open-source textbooks. These changes, if proposed and finalized, would provide students with real choice and the ability to use the best textbooks at the most affordable price.

Nicole Allen writes, “This is good news from the perspective that it signals the Department of Education’s commitment to the proposal to curb automatic textbook billing, and it is also always exciting to see explicit support for open textbooks.”

Is this happening anywhere else besides the U.S.?

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This makes me so hopeful for the future. I am going to cling to this feeling for the ten seconds I have before something horrible happens :joy:.

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