Durbin, Duckworth Announce Notice Inviting Applications For FY22 Open Textbooks Pilot Program

The Senators encourage Illinois educational institutions to apply for the grant program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has placed a notice inviting applications for new awards for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) for the Open Textbook Pilot program. The deadline to submit applications is July 25, 2022. 

The Open Textbooks Pilot, based on Durbin’s Affordable College Textbook Act, is a competitive grant program to support the creation and expand the use of open college textbooks—textbooks that are freely available under an open license, allowing professors, students, researchers, and others to freely access the materials. The grant program aims to significantly reduce the cost of higher education for students.

“With the rising costs of tuition, many students decline to purchase required textbooks for their coursework because of the outrageous expense,” said Durbin. “Open textbooks are a proven way to save students money while providing quality instructional materials.  I encourage Illinois educational institutions to take advantage of the Open Textbook Pilot program and submit their application as soon as possible.”

“Those of us who weren’t always sure we’d be able to go to college understand the power of a diploma and the importance of financial help,” Duckworth said. “We cannot stay on the sidelines while something as crucial as textbooks are too expensive for so many students. The Open Textbook Pilot program is one way we can help Illinois’s students and colleges tear down that barrier. Every American deserves affordable education and I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help make that future a reality.”

An application for the Open Textbook Pilot Program is available here.

Durbin has helped secure $35 million for the Open Textbooks Pilot Program over the last five years. 

Textbook costs are one of the most overlooked costs of attending college, but they can be a substantial barrier to attaining a college education. According to The College Board, the average student budget for college books and supplies during the 2020-2021 academic year was $1,298 at four-year public institutions. According to a survey by U.S. PIRG, 65 percent of students decided not to buy a textbook because of the cost, and 94 percent of those students worried it would negatively affect their grades.