May 17, 2016

On April 14, 2016 Florida Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 7019: Education Access and Affordability into law. The purpose of the bill is to promote public awareness of the cost of higher education and to specify the responsibilities of Florida colleges and universities in relation to textbook affordability. The bill:

  • Requires that institutions within the Florida College and State University Systems prominently display a hyperlink that leads to a list of required and recommended course materials for at least 95% of all upcoming courses. The link should be visible on both the institution’s website and course registration system. This list is to be posted no less than 45 days before the start of the first day of classes.
  • Allows boards of trustees to negotiate for the use of “innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks and instructional materials.” Before the use of any new techniques are permitted, there must be evidence that the option reduces the price of textbooks. Students must also be given the option to opt into the use of new cost saving measures.
  • Requires that state university boards of trustees examine the price of learning materials in each course to determine how much cost varies from course section to course section. Boards of trustees must also determine what percentage of course materials are used for more than one term. This information must be submitted to the Chancellor of the Florida College System or the Chancellor of the State University System, along with institution specific measures to reduce the cost of course materials, and “the textbook and instructional materials selection process for general education courses with a wide cost variance.”
  • States that textbook affordability measures can only be adopted with input from relevant stakeholders such as students, faculty, bookstores and publishers.

The provisions of the new law are expected to take effect on July 1, 2016.

Read the full text of HB 7019 to learn more.