California senator wants to create free digital library for undergrads

Darrell Steinberg, president of the California Senate, plans to introduce legislation that will create a free library of 50 of the most common college textbooks in an electronic format, reports the Huffington Post.

Despite proposed cuts to the state education budget, Steinberg is seeking around $25 million for initial startup costs. Under the new plan, students could save as much as $1,000 on the estimated average of $1,300 that each student spends on course materials. The savings are intended to offset recent increases in tuition at many Californian colleges and universities.

Steinberg's proposals have been met with enthusiasm from members of the 20 Million Minds Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to lowering costs of course materials by making digital textbooks more widely available. Dean Florez, a member of the group and former state senator, told the news outlet that the move could spark similar initiatives across the country.

The popularity of e-books among students is increasing. According to Reuters, a survey by Kelton Research found that 62 percent of undergraduates said they would study more often if they had access to digital textbooks, and 71 percent of students said they supported plans to migrate course materials to electronic formats or web-based applications.

If you're weighing your college decisions, you might want to consider the cost of materials when using a college search engine. 

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