Alaska Legislature Moves Forward with College Price Transparency Bill Vote

The Alaska House Education Committee expressed unanimous approval on Monday for a bill promoting price transparency at the University of Alaska.

Should Senate Bill 13 be enacted, the state university system will need to display the prices of course materials, such as textbooks, in its course catalog.

Sen. Robert Myers, R-North Pole and the bill’s sponsor, explained, “This bill has a simple concept: We aim to provide students with comprehensive financial information when they enroll in classes.”

Last year, the state Senate endorsed SB 13 with a 19-1 vote, with the education committee being its final scrutiny before a full House vote.

“It’s a fantastic initiative. I want individuals to have all the details to effectively manage their budget,” mentioned Rep. Jamie Allard, R-Eagle River, the education committee’s co-chair, following the vote on Monday.

Myers noted that SB 13 is patterned after comparable laws in other states.

In a fiscal evaluation presented to the Legislature, the university system affirmed that they could integrate the bill within their ongoing IT modernization efforts.

University officials cautioned that although they can manage the financial implications, there will be an associated time commitment.

“Requiring faculty to engage in administrative duties detracts from the primary educational objectives. New faculty members are particularly at risk of being impacted by this requirement,” the fiscal note highlighted.

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