Last March, Congress authorized $5M to support Open Educational Resources, to be administered by the Department of Education. This funding was celebrated by open advocacy organizations like SPARC and Creative Commons. Now the Department of Ed has announced plans to award 1-3 grants totaling $5M by late September. From "Applications Open for Federal OER Grant" in Inside Higher Ed:
The department will accept applications for the next 30 days. The Register lists three "absolute priorities" for attractive applicants: improving collaboration among consortia; filling gaps in the open-textbook market by specifically addressing high-enrollment courses; and promoting degree completion. Preference will be given to proposals that focus on materials for general education and career and technical education, and to projects that use technology-based strategies, such as artificial intelligence and adaptive courseware, for personalized learning.
While there are shortcomings ($5M isn't that much funding in terms of federal spending and there's been a lack of transparency since the funding was approved in March until this recent announcement), OER advocates are hopeful that this initiative will have a broad tangible impact and spur more investment in open education. The Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright is monitoring this initiative as it develops. For more information on OER and support available at KU see https://openaccess.ku.edu/oer and/or contact Scholarly Communication Librarian Josh Bolick at jbolick[at]ku[dot]edu.