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Zero Textbook Cost Initiative

An initiative to create more equitable access to education.

What is Zero Textbook Cost?

The Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) refers to courses in which required reading materials (e.g. Textbooks) have no cost to the access them. ZTC courses are permitted to use Open Educational Resources (OER), library resources, or other high-quality, freely available resources as long as there are zero costs for the students’ access and use of these resources.

What is the ZTC Initiative?

Although the aim of the ZTC initiative is to recognize the course instructors, who have reduced the cost of the their course so that students are not paying for required reading materials, the ultimate goal is boost student success and well-being so that they can achieve their educational goals.

Successful Initiative applicants will receive a mini-grant in recognition of their work (see Grant Options below) at the end of the 2022/2023 academic year.

Why ZTC?

  • Equity - The cost of textbooks affects Pell Grant recipients disproportionately. Lowering the costs of textbooks gives students from all socioeconomic strata an equal opportunity to access higher education.
  • Inclusivity - Affordable Learning Materials, and OER in particular, give you the power to update your course materials so as to better reflect the students in your classes so that they see themselves more included in the discussion.
  • Creativity - Affordable Learning Materials allow you to step away from the traditional textbook and to create a class that reflects your teaching style and to create a course that is unique.
Grant Type  Award Amount Description
Adopt $1,000 Use existing Affordable Learning Materials (ALMs) or Open Educational Resources (OER) without making changes to the content
Adapt $1,200 Develop custom course content from multiple ALMs or OER and original open content to support learning objectives not met by existing open resources
Cohort $500/person Multi-section course teams who Adopt or Adopt existing ALMs or OER for use in all sections of a multi-section course

Affordable Learning Materials

Affordable Learning Materials,  or ALMs, are materials purchased or licensed by the University (e.g., Library eBooks or journal articles) or that are open access and freely available online. ALMs may have hidden costs to the students, for example articles in the databases are paid ultimately paid by the students through tuition but they are accessible without any additional costs.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resource, or OER, are free course materials in either the Public Domain or licensed in a manner that provides free, perpetual access and that allow you to reuse, remix, revise, and redistribute as you like (e.g., OpenStax Textbooks).

Who is eligible?

  • Full-time faculty 
  • Adjunct faculty 
  • Full-time Staff who are teaching ongoing courses

Application Requirements

Applicants must:

  • attend one of three informational sessions in the 2022 Fall Semester
  • be in a position where they can revise materials for a course being taught in the 2023/2024 Academic Year
  • Fall 2022 - Attend a grant information session
    • responsibilities and expectations
    • more information about ALMs and OER
    • the benefits for you and the students
    • OER vs Open Access
    • the benefits and challenges of using OER
    • copyright and Creative Commons licensing
  • November 18th - Grant Applications due
  • December 9th - Notify grant awardees
  • May 1st - Book selection and Progress Report Due
  • May 30th - Distribute Awards
  • AY 2023/2024 - Implement your updated course