ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, recently earned a “Friend of Students” award for his work on legislation to make textbooks affordable.
Urdahl’s legislation bucks a national trend. According to The Washington Post, textbook prices have been rising at double the rate of inflation for the past two decades. The Post reports the high costs result in nearly 60 percent of students nationwide choosing not to buy all the course materials.
“That’s a serious problem when our college students are shorted in the classroom because books are too expensive,” said Urdahl, who worked alongside Minnesota State College Student Association members to gain their perspectives. “This bill goes a long way toward guaranteeing Minnesota students have access to all the information necessary for a given course.”
Urdahl, who created a task force to examine textbook pricing, was the chief author of a 2006 bill to study the issue. This groundwork led to the 2007 passage of a bill which Urdahl co-authored. The legislation ensures students have better access to affordable course materials through improved education and cooperation of everyone involved in the selection, sale, and purchase of these materials. Also included in the bill is a textbook rental pilot program.
The award was issued by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, following what was a banner 2007 year for higher education in Minnesota. According to a MnSCU release, the system received record funding levels in addition to the textbook legislation which will help students across the state.