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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gov. to see textbook bill

    PHOENIX – A student-initiated bill aimed to curb textbook costs passed the state House of Representatives and Senate yesterday and heads to the Gov. Janet Napolitano’s desk this week.

    The bill, HB 2230, requires textbook publishers to provide more information, such as price and differences in editions, to faculty and others who make textbook decisions for universities and community colleges.

    Although the bill is different from what was first introduced, it’s a great initial step and also an accomplishment for the students who worked hard to get the bill into law, said Tiffany Troidl, government affairs director for Arizona Students’ Association.

    “”Students have worked on this legislation for over a year, so it feels really good that legislators listen to students and help students address the problems of textbooks,”” she said.

    The bill passed the Senate yesterday with a vote of 24-2, with four members not voting.

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce said the bill makes a strong statement about college costs.

    “”It just goes to show what an important issue this, and the cost of higher education, is,”” he said.

    Arizona university students spend an average of $816 to $950 each year on textbooks and supplies, which equals one-fifth of a student’s in-state tuition, according to the Arizona Board of Regents’ Textbook Task Force.

    The bill’s advancement might not lower the price of textbooks immediately, but it’s still a good thing for faculty to be aware of textbook prices and editions, said Frank Farias, executive director for the UA Bookstores.

    “”It’s a convoluted issue because there’s so many factors and variables involved,”” he said.

    Strapped state funding impacts textbook prices, too, as sometimes faculty don’t know if a course will be offered until the last minute, Farias said.

    When a course is in jeopardy, the instructor might have to place a book order late, which ultimately impacts the textbook price, he said.

    “”If departments aren’t getting funding, it’s harder to allocate resources for the class and complicates it for the faculty,”” he said.

    Still, Troidl said thinks the bill will benefit the people it’s meant for: the students.

    “”Price has to be on the table,”” she said. “”Price has to be part of the conversation.””

    Napolitano does not comment on pending legislation.

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