Open-source texts would have wider use in state colleges


HARTFORD – Students facing eye-popping costs of college textbooks could save substantial amounts of money under a bill that would encourage the use of electronic texts.

The House on Tuesday approved a pilot program and study of so-called open-source texts that faculty could assign instead of traditional books that can cost students as much as $1,200 a year. The bill, which passed 144-0, next heads to the Senate.

It would establish a task force to develop plans for the best use of open-source texts through an existing program at Charter Oak State College.

Rep. Gregory Haddad, D-Storrs, in explaining the bill, said some students try to avoid classes that require expensive texts, or even take the courses without buying required books.

He said that in recent testimony a $300 textbook for a course at Housatonic Community College was found online for $30. “That kind of savings can be substantial for students,” Haddad said.

“Open-source texts, written in same way and published on-line, can substantially reduce costs,” he said.

Under the legislation, effective September 1, an open-source textbook consortium would be created by the Board of Regents for Higher Education, UConn Board of Trustees and the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges. It would include at least five higher education institutions, including UConn, a state university, a regional community-technical college, Charter Oak State College, and one independent institution.