H.B. No. 2177
  relating to establishing a digital course materials pilot program.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter C, Chapter 61, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 61.0667 to read as follows:
  In this section:
               (1)  "Digital course material" means a digital
  textbook, supplemental material, or open educational resource, as
  those terms are defined by Section 51.451.
               (2)  "Eligible institution" means a public junior
  college, public technical institute, or public state college.
         (b)  The board shall establish a pilot program under which
  the board awards grants to participating eligible institutions to
  provide financial assistance to students for the cost of accessing
  digital course materials.
         (c)  The board shall adopt rules necessary to administer the
  pilot program, including rules to:
               (1)  establish a methodology for selecting eligible
  institutions to participate in the pilot program and allocating
  money appropriated for the purpose of the pilot program among those
  institutions that, to the greatest extent possible, results in a
  distribution of grant awards that:
                     (A)  reflects the varied geography and unique
  institutional missions in this state; and
                     (B)  serves students who meet financial need
  requirements as defined by the board for the Texas Educational
  Opportunity Grant Program under Subchapter P, Chapter 56, and other
  diverse student populations that characterize higher education in
  this state; and
               (2)  establish criteria that participating
  institutions must use to evaluate digital course materials that may
  be accessed using grants awarded under the pilot program, which may
  include criteria regarding:
                     (A)  access to relevant technical support;
                     (B)  adherence to accessibility standards for
  students with disabilities;
                     (C)  positive impact on student outcomes;
                     (D)  immediate access and availability of the
  materials to all students enrolled at the institution;
                     (E)  faculty access to resources and training
                     (F)  subscription-based models;
                     (G)  inclusive-access models; and
                     (H)  supplemental resources that may be provided
  to assist students with career readiness workforce development.
         (d)  In developing the rules adopted under Subsection (c),
  the board shall solicit input from publishers, campus bookstore
  operators, and other relevant industry representatives.
         (e)  This section does not affect any authority granted by an
  eligible institution to a faculty member to select course materials
  for courses taught by the faculty member.
         (f)  Not later than September 1, 2026, the board shall submit
  to the governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker of the house
  of representatives, and the presiding officer of each legislative
  standing committee with primary jurisdiction over higher education
  a report that evaluates the effectiveness of the pilot program in
  improving student outcomes. The report must include a
  recommendation regarding whether the pilot program should be
  continued, expanded, or terminated.
         (g)  This section expires September 1, 2027.
         SECTION 2.  (a) The Texas Higher Education Coordinating
  Board shall adopt rules to administer the pilot program established
  under Section 61.0667, Education Code, as added by this Act, as soon
  as practicable after the effective date of this Act.
         (b)  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall
  award initial grants under Section 61.0667, Education Code, as
  added by this Act, beginning with the 2024 spring semester.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I certify that H.B. No. 2177 was passed by the House on May 2,
  2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 113, Nays 32, 2 present, not
  Chief Clerk of the House   
         I certify that H.B. No. 2177 was passed by the Senate on May
  21, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 22, Nays 9.
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________