If you or your child has recently purchased a college textbook, you know how expensive they can be. The vice chair of the state Senate Education Committee sponsors a measure to significantly lower costs by giving students free access to textbooks, guaranteeing a reasonable rate of return when the books are sold back to a university bookstore.

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"My bill gives students free access to textbooks on the Internet so that they can get the same information online, rather than going to the bookstore and purchasing these books for hundreds of dollars," said state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Trenton). "This bill is extremely important, particularly because we know that students are graduating with a mountain of student debt."

Under the legislation, the Secretary of Higher Education would review plans to help ensure that the full and complete digital content of each open textbook is made available free of charge to students enrolled at the college, and make sure that the open textbooks are available to students by July 1, 2020.

"The legislation also provides that when students do purchase these textbooks, the bookstores would have to allow them to sell them back when they're finished with them for at least 50 percent of their original purchase cost, provided that they are in good shape and they have a receipt," Turner said.

The senator said she is hopeful and confident that the measure will be considered quickly when the legislature returns from its summer break in September.