Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

HB 2680

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Establishing the Washington open education pilot grant program for the four-year institutions of higher education.

Sponsors: Representatives Stambaugh, Frame, Zeiger, Riccelli, Van Werven, Magendanz, Kochmar, Kilduff, Hargrove, Stanford, Johnson and Hickel.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Establishes the Washington Open Education Pilot Grant program (program) within the Student Achievement Council (Council) to award up to 100 grants per year, subject to funds appropriated, to faculty to develop or obtain open educational resources and materials.

  • Encourages the Council to model the program after the Massachusetts Amherst Open Education Initiative and the California Textbook Affordability Act.

  • Requires the Council to report to the Legislature by September 1, 2018, on the implementation and data of the program.

  • Includes an emergency clause.

  • Expires June 30, 2019.

Hearing Date: 1/29/16

Staff: Megan Mulvihill (786-7304).


Open Educational Resources.

Open Educational Resources are educational materials and resources that are free and available for use by anyone. Some resources are under license to re-mix, improve, and redistribute. Open Educational Resources include full courses, course materials, learning objectives, software, and intellectual property licenses, among other things.

The Massachusetts Amherst Open Education Initiative.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) created the Open Education Initiative (Initiative) in 2011. Through the Initiative, the UMass libraries offer grants for instructors who use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials. The Initiative awards $1,000 to instructors teaching courses with enrollments of fewer than 200 students, and $2,500 to instructors teaching courses with enrollment of 200 or more students. The instructors can use open-access scholarly resources, library-licensed and owned resources, or create their own resources. Since 2011, the Initiative has saved students over $1 million.

The California Textbook Affordability Act.

The California Textbook Affordability Act (Act) was enacted in 2015 to encourage faculty to adopt open educational resources. The Act requires the academic senates of the California State University and the California Community Colleges to adopt local campus plans to increase and adopt open educational resources by June 30, 2016. After adoption of the plans, the Act provides funding to support faculty and professional staff development for those who choose to use open educational resources, supports curating activities for open educational resources, curriculum modification and release time for faculty to adopt open educational resources, and technology support.

Summary of Bill:

Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, the Washington Open Education Pilot Grant program (program) is established within the Student Achievement Council (Council). The program provides competitive grants to faculty to develop or obtain open educational materials and resources. Subject to funding, the Council must award up to 100 grants per year to faculty and develop a process for reviewing and selecting grant applicants. The Council is encouraged to use the UMass Initiative and the Act as models for the program.

Beginning September 1, 2017, and by September 1, 2018, the Council must submit a report on the program to the appropriate committees of the Legislature. The report must include:

The program expires June 30, 2019.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on 1/19/16.

Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.