- Washington state Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (R) is continuing the fight for student access to digital learning materials in the state's public colleges and universities, proposing House Bill 1768 to award $100,000 grants to six institutions for technology and personnel support.
- Stambaugh is looking to implement a concept piloted at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, where students saved an average of $70,000 in textbook costs for every $10,000 invested in open-source material provision, according to the News Tribune.
- If passed, the legislation would be enacted for the 2017-18 academic year, and would require institutions to report on how the grants were used and how much money students were able to save.
State and federal legislators are likely to become more active in promoting legislation which helps students to save money, because it is cheaper than providing student aid and contributes to their electability index. College leaders can support this effort by providing data on how key investments can support student success.
If the goal is retention, presidents can showcase how student dashboards and analytics provide students and faculty greater insight into how to improve retention and four-year graduation rates. If a campus is seeking access for non-traditional students, the emphasis could be MOOC development or competency-based education models. Legislators are willing to invest a little to save a lot of public funding over a longer period.