Zero Textbook Cost Degrees
help California students

In 2016, $5 million was included in the budget for the ZTC Degree program. It allowed 23 colleges to build 34 degree or certificate pathways which were entirely free of a textbook cost. It was an unqualified success. These 34 pathways saved over 23,000 students more than $42 million--a more than 8x return on investment. With 7 in 10 community college students reporting being food or housing insecure, these savings make a critical difference in their ability to continue their studies. Another recent survey of college students showed that 25% needed to work extra hours to afford course materials. 19% said that they decided what course to take based on the cost of materials. Those costs forced one in nine students surveyed to skip meals. These stresses are only greater since the onset of the pandemic. Continuing the ZTC program is one proven step towards repairing a broken system. As Governor Newsom said at his January 8th budget press conference, “...we in California have an obligation to disrupt that entire system nationwide.”