Update on Automatic Textbook Billing and Negotiated Rulemaking

If you haven’t seen Nicole Allen’s updates via the CCCOER listserv regarding the update on automatic textbook billing and negotiated rulemaking, I’m sharing the positive message below.

Also, check out the the first of 3 blog posts on this topic in a series by CCCOER member Brandon Board, Digital Services Coordinator of Waubonsee Community College Libraries.

"I’m writing with a few updates on the federal rulemaking on automatic textbook billing. On Friday, 11 U.S. Senators led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent a letter to Secretary Miguel Cardona expressing their support for the Department of Education’s proposal to make “Inclusive Access” textbook billing programs opt-in for students. The letter states that the change would “allow students to choose how to spend their financial aid dollars on books and supplies” and “empower them to take advantage of affordable alternatives, such as used and open textbooks.” A copy of the press release is below and Sen. Dubin’s tweet is here.

While the timeline of the potential rulemaking is still hard to predict, this show of support from Congress is a positive sign, building on the inclusion of this issue in a White House fact sheet last month. SPARC continues to support the language proposed by the Department during negotiated rulemaking, and we continue to encourage institutions to reexamine automatic textbook billing programs in light of the many drawbacks. For example, the Connecticut Board of Trustees recently voted down a proposal to shift four of the state’s universities to a Barnes and Noble flat-fee “Equitable Access” program in light of concerns raised by students, faculty, and libraries.

Recognizing that the future of “Inclusive Access” programs may be opt-in, I also want to highlight this webinar hosted by InclusiveAccess.org later this week. It will provide background on the potential regulatory changes and share the experience of the University of Central Florida implementing a successful opt-in Inclusive Access program.

Is “Opt-In” the Future of Inclusive Access?
Thursday, April 25, 2024
3:00pm ET / 12:00pm PT

We will continue to keep you updated on any developments as the rulemaking process continues.


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