Bad News for Federally-funded OER

As pointed out in a post on the Brookings Institution blog, large-scale federally-funded OER won’t be coming this year:

Buried beneath the much-deserved hullaballoo over the passage of health care reform were big changes that the reconciliation bill makes to the federal student loan program… Less noticed, however, is a provision that was in the House-passed Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) this fall, but dropped from the final version that passed last night…. [W]ith Pell Grant spending up due to the poor state of the economy, and the pressure to keep the total cost of the bill down while achieving expanded health insurance coverage and deficit reduction, the AGI got left on the cutting-room floor.

The American Graduation Initiative (AGI) was the Obama-backed initiative that included $50M/yr for open online courses for the next ten years (i.e., $500M for OER). These courses would have provided critical content infrastructure for innovative education experiments, and we needed them desperately.

Shucks. Maybe next year.

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