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Sen. Sinema, 4 others reintroduce affordable college books bill

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PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and four others in Congress have brought back a bill designed to make college more affordable by bolstering access to free online educational resources.

Sinema (D-Ariz.) and fellow Democrats Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Angus King of Maine, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act late last week.

In a related move, the U.S. Department of Education recently awarded Arizona State University $2.5 million in grant money to improve availability of open educational resources.

“Steep textbook costs should never hold an Arizonan back from an education. Our bill increases access to course materials so all students can receive a quality education,” Sinema said in a statement after Thursday’s congressional action.

The legislation would strengthen “existing price transparency requirements so students can easily identify classes that use open textbooks when they register,” the advocacy organization U.S. Public Interest Research Groups said.

The Government Accountability Office said new textbook prices jumped 82 percent between 2002 and 2012.

Congress set aside a total of $10 million over the past two years in temporary funding to encourage adoption of open textbooks.

A version of the bill has been introduced multiple times since 2013.

Sinema’s office said the grant to ASU will support the expansion of open textbooks and other widely available course materials over the next three years.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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