The Impact of Zero Textbook Cost Degrees in California Community Colleges

We are excited to see the Board’s prioritization of ZTC efforts and look forward to continuing to see and advocate for a successful and sustainable implementation of Governor Newsom’s funding.


Impact of Zero-Textbook Costs in California


By Cailyn Nagle, Michelson 20MM /Foundation (Originally published on

Two years after Governor Gavin Newsom called out the usurious textbook marketplace and included $115 million in his budget for Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degrees, it is time to take the pulse of California’s ZTC implementation. The infusion of support for the California Community Colleges (CCC) comes on the heels of a successful 2016 pilot program that delivered a 858% return on investment and improved student grades by up to 7.3 points.

On July 24th, the Office of the Chancellor unveiled exciting progress on the most recent phase of the ZTC Degree program during the CCC Board of Governors meeting. In addition to providing important updates on the rollout of the Zero Textbook Cost degree, the Board also previewed the upcoming recommendations from the Burden Free Instructional Materials Taskforce, which was convened by the Office of the Chancellor to address the full costs of materials needed for classes. We were thrilled to attend the meeting and are excited to share updates.

With representatives from faculty, classified employees, trustees, and the general public, the Board of Governors guides policy and provides guidance to the 116 CCC campuses across the state.

Read more about California’s phase for zero-textbook cost degrees here.

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