Representative Gregg Haddad Leads Passage of H.B. 6771 Through the House of Representatives

May 1, 2023


State Representative Gregg Haddad (D-Mansfield), House Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, led the successful House passage of H.B. 6771, which implements the recommendations of the Open Educational Resource Coordinating Council (OERCC).

The OERCC was established by the legislature in 2019 and awards grants to higher education faculty members to be used for the development of open educational resources, which are free alternatives to costly textbooks.

“In 2019, I was pleased to co-author the bill which established the OERCC. Since then, it has benefited both faculty and students in numerous ways,” said Rep. Haddad. "The recommendations proposed by H.B. 6771 will further enhance the OERCC's success and help their efforts to deliver financial relief to students."

The OERCC's 2022 Legislative Reports show that over the last three years, the state's investment of $159,915 helped 8,322 students avoid more than $1,031,000 in textbook costs. In 2022, the Council awarded $59,365, which helped 2,583 students from 136 course sections at 16 institutions avoid more than $325,000 in textbook costs.

H.B. 6771 preserves and expands the role of the OERCC to increase its effectiveness after establishing a proven track record over its first 4 years. The bill gives the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system jurisdiction over the OERCC instead of the Office of Higher Education. Additionally, the bill eases the restrictions on grant awards to faculty who develop open educational resources. Faculty members will be given more freedom to choose how they license resources, resulting in more diverse and innovative uses of these materials. This bill expands the responsibilities of the Council, requiring them to establish standardized definitions for terms relevant to open educational resources, collect data on their use and availability, as well as clearly mark courses that utilize open educational plan resources in online course catalogs. The resulting policy will help maximize the impact of the grants the OERCC provides.

"As we fight to ensure that a college degree is affordable and accessible to Connecticut's students, Open Educational Resources provide a free, quality alternative to very expensive and costly textbooks.  Promoting the use of these alternatives costs little and the payoff for students is big," Rep. Haddad added.