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.
The ZTC Degree Program
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.
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.
Tuesday, August 30, 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.
Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Program Overview: What we think we know (ASCCC OERI, September 26, 2022) Note: An update of this document is being developed and should be available in early 2023. It has been clarified that the pathways eligible for ZTC Program funds does include noncredit CTE certificates and does not include non-CTE certificates.
ZTC and OER in the CCCs
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.
XB12 and the ZTC Program
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, 1:30 pm
XB 12: Instructional Materials Cost Informational Meeting – Unedited Recording
XB 12: Instructional Materials Cost Informational Meeting – Presentation PDF
Note – the above may not be accessible and will be replace with accessible versions when they are available.
On August 16, 2022, at 1:30 pm, join us for an overview of the new data element and its implementation schedule.
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 XB 12 and ZTC.
Fridays, 9:00 am – 10:00 am August 26 – December 23, 2022
ZTC Program Weekly Office Hours
ZTC Program and ZTC-Related – In the News
Advocates See A Future Of Zero Textbook Costs For College Students (September 28, 2022; LAist, part of Southern California Public Radio (SCPR)
Let’s help struggling students rather than benefiting textbook publishers (September 20, 2022; EdSource)
California 2-Year Colleges to Begin $115M OER Experiment (February 4, 2022; Inside Higher Ed)
AB 2624 (Kaira)
AB 2624 (Kaira) 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, the bill was passed without opposition by the Assembly Higher Education Committee and referred to Appropriations. There is 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).
2021 – 2022 Course Schedule Analyses
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.
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.)
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
Legislative Report Data
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 Justice||Taft College|
|Anthropology||Glendale Community College|
|Business Administration||Santa Ana College|
|Child and Adolescent Development||Butte|
|Computer Science||Santa Monica College|
|Early Childhood Education||College of the Canyons, Santa Monica College|
|History||Glendale Community College|
|Mathematics||College of Alameda, Lake Tahoe Community College|
|Philosophy||Los Medanos College|
|Physics (Not confirmed)||Santa Ana College|
|Psychology||Butte College, West Hills College Lemoore|
|Sociology||Glendale Community College, Grossmont College|
Associate Degrees for Transfer – ZTC Pathways in the California Community Colleges
Summary of available associate degrees for transfer ZTC pathways. All data obtained from public-facing resources, unless otherwise indicated.
College Public-Facing Information
The following was obtained from college websites regarding their no-cost degree pathways. Please share any updates with the OERI. Awards are listed alphabetically within the following categories:
- Associate Degrees for Transfer (AA-T and AS-T) (Degrees based on Transfer Model Curricula)
- Local Degrees (AA and AS)
- Certificates – credit
- Certificates – noncredit
Butte College Zero-Textbook-Cost Program (accessed October 11, 2021); ZTC Program – Degrees and Pathway (Child and Adolescent Development AA-T, Psychology AA-T, Social and Behavioral Science AA, Early Childhood Education Certificate)
Lake Tahoe Community College Open Educational Resources (accessed February 16, 2022); What ZTC Degrees are there at LTCC? (Business Administration AS-T, Mathematics AS-T, Psychology AA-T) Although degree type is not specified on the website, ADTs confirmed via personal communication.
Los Angeles Valley College: Textbook Affordability – OER & ZTC @LAVC (Communication Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, and History offer ZTC degree pathways. Although degree type is not specified on the website, AA-T confirmed via personal communication.)
Pasadena City College: OER & ZTC: Open Educational Resources and Zero Textbook Cost Options (Administration of Justice AS-T, History AA-T, Psychology AA-T, Sociology AA-T, Humanities AA, Social and Behavioral Sciences AA, CIS CCNA Certificate, Digitization Skills for Libraries and Cultural Heritage Institutions Certificate, Archives and Digital Collections Assistant Certificate)
Saddleback College Zero Textbook Cost Classes Saddleback offers 35 ZTC degrees and certificates (see website for more details). Anthropology AA-T, Child and Adolescent Development AA-T, Communication Studies AA-T, Economics AA-T, History AA-T, Physics AS-T, Political Science AA-T, Psychology AA-T, Sociology AA-T, Studio Arts AA-T, American Sign Language AS, Astronomy AS, Cinema-Television-Radio AS, Dance AA, Economics AA, English Literature AA, Gender and Sexuality Studies AA, General Studies AAs, History AA, Liberal Studies AA, Physics AS, Travel and Tourism AS, GE Certificates of Achievement (CSU, IGETC, and local), Aging Studies Certificate, Aging Studies Interdisciplinary Certificate, Associate Teacher Level 1 Certificate, Cinema-Television-Radio Certificate, Cinema-Television-Radio Career Skills Certificate, Music Production Entrepreneurship Certificate, Music Production (Occupational Skills Award), Travel and Tourism Certificate
San Diego Mesa Zero Textbook Cost Degree Pathways (Art History AA-T, Communication Studies AA-T, English AA-T, Art History AA, Communication Studies AA, English AA, Creative Writing Certificate of Achievement)
Santa Ana College – OER Pathways (Business Administration AS-T, Liberal Arts AA)
Skyline College – ZTC for Students Spanish AA-T, Spanish AA
West Hills College Lemoore Zero Textbook Cost Degrees (Early Childhood Education AS-T, Elementary Teacher Education AA-T, Geology AS-T, History AA-T, Psychology AA-T, Sociology AA-T, Geology AA, Geology AS, Liberal Arts: Arts and Humanities AA, Liberal Arts: Elementary Teacher Preparation AA, Liberal Arts: Math and Science AA, Liberal Arts: Social Science AA, Manufacturing Automation AS, Psychology AA, Academic Readiness Certificate, Industrial Mechanic I Certificate, Introduction to Industrial Automation Certificate, Transfer Studies – CSU GE Breadth Certificate)
This page last updated 1-31-23.