Senator Moore's Legislation on Education
S.675, An Act relative to open textbooks
The cost of textbooks continues to be a significant financial burden for students and their families. In order to provide some financial relief, this legislation creates a Massachusetts Digital Open Source Library to serve as a statewide repository for high-quality open source textbooks and related materials. With an open source library, students will have access to text books and materials at little or no cost and faculty will be able to adopt and easily modify the most appropriate course materials for their class.
S.677, An Act relative to public higher education transfers
One path many of our students use in order to reduce the cost of their education is to attend a community college for the first 2 years and then transfer to a university for the next 2 years. However, this process is not always seamless. I have heard from many students who have taken courses in their major only to find these credits are not accepted by the transferring institutions. This forces students to retake classes, which is a waste of time and money. For the past three years, the Legislature has funded a project to establish a system-wide set of course equivalencies and a common course numbering system. While a great deal of work has gone into establishing this system, this legislation requires that by December 31, 2015, all public institutions of higher education shall permit students to transfer from one public institution of higher education to another without loss of credit.
S.678, An Act relative to strengthening and expanding affordable, quality higher education opportunities for residents of the Commonwealth
The bill incorporates various recommendations made by the Subcommittee on Student Loans and Debt of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, the Special Commission on Higher Education Quality, Efficiencies, and Finance, and the Special Commission on Educational Scholarships all of whom released their reports and recommendations last year. As recommended by these reports, the bill seeks to: promote financial literacy and early college planning and encourage saving for college; increase timely completion of degrees and certificates; increase state funds each year for the next five fiscal years for the operating line items for our public higher education institutions, with a requirement that if sufficient state funds are provided each year these institutions must freeze tuition and mandatory curriculum fees; provide new state bond funding for capital improvements and maintenance projects at our public higher education institutions; increase state funds each year over the next five fiscal years for the so-called MassGrant Program which helps needy Massachusetts’ students afford the cost of higher education; encourage private giving to public higher education institutions; support refinancing opportunities for student loans financed at high interest rates through the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority; ensure collaborations and partnerships to promote savings and efficiencies among our public higher education institutions; further foster partnerships with business; and support pathways to self-sufficiency and opportunity.