In July of 2022 the first details of the implementation of the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Degree Program were shared. As open educational resources (OER) are specifically emphasized in the legislation, and as OER is one of the most sustainable approaches to eliminating textbook costs, the OERI has been tracking the progress of the program.

Updates regarding the ZTC Degree Program are provided in chronological order. Please scroll to the end of this section to view the latest developments.

In late March of 2022 a letter was sent to the Board of Governors by the Michelson 20MM Foundation on behalf of OER advocates to offer suggestions regarding the program. The following is from the letter that was submitted as a public comment:

The $115 million Governor Newsom dedicated to ZTC degree programs has the potential to
transform the system’s course material landscape. With this funding, California stands to
cement itself as a bold, national leader in textbook affordability. Such leadership comes with the
responsibility to ensure that these funds are used with long-term impact top of mind, and with an
understanding that how this investment is shepherded will be closely studied and will impact
countless state and federal textbook affordability initiatives in the coming years.

July 29, 2022 ZTC Program Update

California Education Code 78052 (j) specifies that “The chancellor’s office shall award an initial round of grants no later than January 1 of a fiscal year for which the funds are appropriated.” A revised version of the July 29, 2022 “Zero Textbook Cost Program – Overview and Guidance” is now available (posted 8-3-22). It provides a brief background of ZTC in the colleges, recognizes the ASCCC-proposed section-level data element (see below) as a critical component of tracking instructional materials costs, states the Chancellor’s Office’s intent to convene a ZTC Taskforce, and announces that there will be a “Phase 1” of grants that will provide $20,000 to colleges to “begin the development of a ZTC program.” A competitive “Phase 2” was supposed to have been made available in Fall 2022, but as of January 25, 2023, no additional information has been provided. The “ZTC Taskforce” referenced in the July 2022 memo has been renamed as it is explicitly not about the ZTC Program.

August 4, 2022 CCCCO Presentation Slides from Cal OER Higher Education System Updates

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 1:30 pm

ZTC Phase 1 and Phase 2 Grants Overview Meeting Unedited Recording
ZTC Phase 1 and Phase 2 Grants Overview Meeting – Presentation PDF
On August 30, at 1:30 pm, the Chancellor’s Office will provide an overview the initial rounds of grant funding for the ZTC program.

Beginning on page 262 of the 2022-23 California Community Colleges Compendium of Allocations
and Resources
you will find coverage of the ZTC Program (page reference and link updated 11-21-22). Please note that this is a living document that is updated as new information is made available. This document was shared at the September 9 2022 ZTC Office Hours.

September 9, 2022 Zero Textbook Cost Program: Overview OERI Friday Forum Presentation Slides

September 9, 2022 Zero Textbook Cost Program: Overview OERI Friday Forum Archived Presentation

ZTC Phase 1 in NOVA

Sep 15, 2022 – Consultation Council Meeting – Social Determinants of Educational Success Ecosystem: A Deep Look at Zero Textbook Cost

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Program Overview: What we think we know Version 2 (ASCCC OERI, May 8, 2023)

February 23, 2023 ZTC Program Updates

  • ZTC Monthly Office Hours – Office hours will now be held on the last Friday of the month from 9:00 am-10:00 am starting as of June 23, 2023.

July 2023, Consultation Council and Board of Governors (BoG)

On Thursday, July 20 and Monday, July 24, a BoG resolution related to the cost of course materials, the ZTC Program, and the Instructional Materials Task Force were all discussed. Most notably, the presentation slide deck shares details of a new funding phase that would be published on August 15, 2023, and due on September 15, 2023.

ZTC Acceleration Grant Information Sessions

ZTC Acceleration Grant Information Session Presentation Slides

ZTC Acceleration Grant information sessions were on Tuesdays from 12 – 1 pm from August 15 – September 12.

View the archived materials from the ZTC Acceleration Grant Information Sessions.

August 21, 2023

Guidance Memo ESS 23-37 – Zero Textbook Grants Program Updates & Acceleration Grants

ZTC Program Resources and Communications

In years past, the California Community Colleges have benefited from funds to promote the adoption of open educational resources (OER) and expand zero textbook cost (ZTC) degrees, but the potential of OER and ZTC have never been fully realized. Intersegmental OER-related efforts were effective in driving OER adoption and ZTC funds served to further advance these efforts.

In 2016 $5 million was appropriated to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to establish the establish the Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant. The use of these funds was described in the Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant Program California Community Colleges 2020 Legislative Report:

The Chancellor’s Office allocated 79% ($3,962,571) of the $5 million appropriation as competitive planning and implementation grants to colleges and districts. Planning grants ($35,000 each) helped institutions identify potential ZTC degree programs and courses, coordinate stakeholders, and prepare for the creation and adoption of effective open educational resources to support the ZTC Program. Implementation grants (up to $150,000 each) enabled colleges to develop and adopt open educational resources in course and program design, ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Copyright Act of 1976, and implement ZTC degree programs on campus.

Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant Program California Community Colleges 2020 Legislative Report (tinyurl.com/2021ZTC) p. 10

Thirty-two of the state’s 115 accredited degree-granting colleges (approximately 28%) received funds from the first Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant. Of these, nine received only a planning grant of up to $35,000. Thirteen received one implementation grant of up to $150,000. The remaining colleges received both types of grants (8), two implementation grants (1), or one planning grant and two implementation grants (1). During this funding cycle, nothing was done to prevent duplication and no structures were established for ensuring accountability. In addition, no efforts were made to encourage expansion or ensure sustainability. The 2021 appropriation that is the focus of this document specifically references preventing duplication, sustainability, and collaboration (access California Education Code 78052 for more information).

During the summer of 2021, the California legislature designated 115 million dollars to expand ZTC degrees in the California Community Colleges. While the language of the bill and legislation is unclear and introduces definitions that conflict with existing definitions of OER and ZTC in California and beyond, it is hoped that appropriate constituencies can collaborate to ensure these funds are spent responsibly with an emphasis on growing the availability of no-cost course sections across the state in a sustainable manner. It is critical to begin by ensuring a minimum level of readiness at the colleges for growing local ZTC efforts and establishing a system for accountability. At present, compliance with related textbook affordability requirements and regulations is inconsistent, as is the level of support for ZTC and/or OER efforts more generally. As a primary goal of expanding the availability of ZTC awards (i.e., certificates and degrees) is to make higher education more affordable, ZTC is associated with textbook affordability and cost transparency in this document.

The OERI Textbook Affordability and Cost Transparency Proposal has been developed by the ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI) and provides recommendations with respect to the use of the allocated ZTC dollars, and data to support those recommendations. Unless otherwise indicated, the recommendations are not formal positions of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC). ASCCC establishes positions through a resolution process that involves delegates from colleges and districts across the state. All but one of the resolutions contained in Appendix B were adopted at the 2021 Fall Plenary. “Faculty Responsibility for Confirming Course Resource Accuracy” was referred for refinement. In Spring 2022, the perfected Faculty Responsibility for Confirming Course Resource Accuracy was adopted.

The XB12, Instructional-Material-Cost, has been added to the California Community Colleges Management Information System Data Element Dictionary. The codes, A, B, C, D, Y, are defined below and the implementation date for the new code was summer 2022. May 11 2022 Data Submission Update Memo; XB12, Instructional-Material-Cost.

A – Section has no associated instructional material
B – Section uses only no-cost digital instructional material (definition modified at some point between 8/22/22 and 9/22/22)
C – Section has instructional material costs none of which are passed on to students
D – Section has low instructional material costs (*as defined locally)
Y – Section does not meet no-cost or low-cost instructional material criteria

* California Community Colleges – Low-Cost Textbook Definitions – If your college or district has a low-cost definition and it is not reflected in our list, please contact the OERI and share your low-cost definition.

As was announced in the July 29, 2022 “Zero Textbook Cost Program – Overview and Guidance” memo that was distributed via email, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) hosted webinars and continues to host office hours to provide information regarding the new instructional materials cost section-level data element (XB12) and the ZTC Program. As the OERI receives new information about the data element and the program, it will be shared here on our OER and ZTC page.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 1:30 pm, XB12 Instructional Materials Cost Informational Meeting
On August 16, 2022, at 1:30 pm, join us for an overview of the new data element and its implementation schedule.
XB 12: Instructional Materials Cost Informational Meeting – Unedited Recording
XB 12: Instructional Materials Cost Informational Meeting – Presentation PDF

Friday, August 19, 2022, CCCCO Update at DECO

CCCCO Slide Deck from DECO Meeting – While most of these slides are about the Vision for Success, enrollment, and distance education, there are a few that relate to XB12 and ZTC.

Friday, February 3, 2023, 10:30 am – 11:30 am, ZTC, IMTF, XB12 – An Update
Is there any new information about the Zero Textbook Cost Program? What happened at the first Instructional Materials Task Force meeting? What does an analysis of the summer 2022 XB12 (Instructional-Material-Cost section-level data element) data tell us? And how does it all fit together? Join this webinar for an overview of what we know, what we don’t know, and what we expect may happen in the future.
Watch the “ZTC, IMTF, XB12 – An Update” recording
Access the “ZTC, IMTF, XB12 – An Update” presentation slides
CCCCO XB 12 Slides
Student Expenses and Resources Survey (SEARS) 2021-22
Zero Textbook Cost Program Overview and Guidance

Friday, March 10, 2023, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm, XB12 – A Deep Dive
Implementing a section-level data element has the potential to improve your local approach to marking no-cost sections. What distinctions between course section costs are allowed with XB12 and why are these distinctions important? What questions can be explored with XB12 data? What steps are colleges taking to ensure the integrity of their data? Join the OERI, your OER Liaison Colleagues, and representatives from the Chancellor’s Office in this in-depth examination of XB12.
XB12 – A Deep Dive – Unedited Recording
XB12 – A Deep Dive – OERI Slides (PPT)
XB12 – A Deep Dive – CCCCO Slides (PDF)
XB12 Cross-Walk, Notes, and ASCCC Resolutions (PDF)

AB 2624 (Kalra) proposes to amend 66406.9 of California Education Code (CEC). CEC 66406.9 is the law requiring the marking of no-cost sections in our course schedules. At present, the bill does not address the known issues with the existing law (i.e., its emphasis on digital). But, consistent with an existing ASCCC position, it is an attempt to increase cost transparency – effectively broadening the cost information that is provided to students in the course schedule. Read the AB 2624 Fact Sheet. On April 26, 2022 the bill was passed without opposition by the Assembly Higher Education Committee and referred to Appropriations. There was no registered opposition to the bill and it is is supported by:

  • California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG)
  • Michelson Center for Public Policy (Sponsor)
  • University of California Student Association
  • Young Invincibles

Despite the lack of formal opposition, the bill’s status stalled (“In committee: Held under submission.” as of May 19, 2022).

In 2023, this legislation was reintroduced as AB 607. The bill text, as of February 9, 2023, does not expand the current federal requirement that textbook and supplemental material costs be in course schedules to also include other supplies. It also does not establish any minimum compliance with the federal requirement. In addition, it does not address the problems with the original no-cost section marking legislation. The meaningful changes proposed in the following paragraph have been struck from the bill (emphasis added):

(3)Prominently display, by means that may include a link to a separate internet web page, the estimated costs for each course of all required course materials and fees directly related to those materials, for no less than 75 percent of the total number of courses on the online campus course schedule. “Course materials” as used in this paragraph includes digital or physical textbooks, devices such as calculators and remote attendance platforms, and software subscriptions.

ASCCC Resolutions – OERI, ZTC, and Course Materials More Generally

California Community Colleges – Low-Cost Textbook Definitions

The ASCCC OERI has conducted an analysis of course schedules to determine compliance with the federal requirement that textbook information be provided to students at the time of registration and California law that requires that no cost (Zero Textbook Cost or ZTC) sections be “marked”. Read more about these course cost-transparency requirements. Please note that all data represent the status of a college at a specific point in time.

The following data were current based on a review of course schedules from Fall of 2021. They will be updated early in 2022. When this update has been completed, it will be announced via the Canvas course.

Public Speaking Analysis Overview – Updated February 16, 2022

While not all courses can achieve ZTC status through the use of OER, the number of courses that can is considerable.

ASCCC OERI OER Collections

The 2016-17 Budget: Assessing the Governor’s Zero-Textbook-Cost Proposal (Legislative Analyst’s Office, 2016)

California Education Code 78052 – Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant Program (Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 144, Sec. 60. (AB 132) Effective July 27, 2021.)

California ZTC Degree – Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) article.

Libraries and ZTC/LTC: Frequently Asked Questions – Added 11-18-22

SB 132 (2021); SB 132 (2021) ZTC Excerpt

Zero-Textbook-Cost-Degree Program Legislative Report (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2021) An overview of the use of $5 million in one-time Proposition 98 funds that were appropriated to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Budget Act of 2016 to establish the Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant Program (“the ZTC Program”).

Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree Grant Program (RFA #16-066, #16-080) Frequently Asked Questions (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2016) A document addressing commonly asked questions related to a prior round of ZTC funding. Please refer to question 12 for information related to homework systems.

California Community College ZTC and/or OER Degrees Pathways

Zero-Textbook-Cost-Degree Program Legislative Report (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2021) Appendix B Zero-Textbook-Cost Programs Developed by College

Summary of Associate Degrees for Transfer Developed Under the ZTC Program Established in 2016
(Twenty-three colleges received implementation grants)

Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T or AS-T)College(s)
Administration of JusticeTaft College
AnthropologyGlendale Community College
Business AdministrationSanta Ana College
Child and Adolescent DevelopmentButte
Computer ScienceSanta Monica College
Early Childhood EducationCollege of the Canyons, Santa Monica College
HistoryGlendale Community College
MathematicsCollege of Alameda, Lake Tahoe Community College
PhilosophyLos Medanos College
Physics (Not confirmed)Santa Ana College
PsychologyButte College, West Hills College Lemoore
SociologyGlendale Community College, Grossmont College

Summary of available associate degrees for transfer ZTC pathways. All data obtained from public-facing resources, unless otherwise indicated.

Summary of all local ZTC degrees and certificate pathways. All data obtained from public-facing resources, unless otherwise indicated.

New – added 8-19-23 – ZTC dashboards and mapping.

This page last updated 8-22-2023.