What does ZTC mean?

By now many of you have probably heard about OER, or open educational resources. You may have even taken a ZTC, or zero textbook cost, course here at Grossmont College, which means you didn't have to pay for a textbook for the course. If you'd like to know more about what OER and ZTC mean for your education, you've come to the right place!


More About ZTC


ZTC stands for "zero textbook cost" and is applied to courses in which your instructor uses open educational resources (OER), or other freely available resources instead of traditional textbooks or other expensive learning materials. The California State government even passed a state bill establishing guidelines for ZTC courses.

These guidelines state:

  • All assigned textbooks for a ZTC course are optional, not required. 
  • All assigned textbooks for a course must be identified as Open Educational Resources (OER) which means there is no cost for students to use them.
  • Any assigned textbooks, including course readers, are available online for free (i.e. through library databases), AND students are not required to buy a physical copy.
  • Lab materials or required supplies are NOT considered a textbook cost. If a course meets the requirements noted above, but requires a fee for materials then the section would still qualify as ZTC per State guidelines. (Note: a lab manual is considered a textbook and must be available to students at no cost in order for the course to be considered ZTC).
  • A course is NOT considered ZTC if students need to pay fees to access a software platform to do coursework or homework.

The ZTC Logo

The image below is the logo used to indicate ZTC. When you see this logo in a class schedule, it indicates that the class has no associated textbook costs!
ZTC - Logo

ZTC and Your Library 

Courses can also be considered ZTC if your instructor uses resources available from the Grossmont College library instead of traditional textbooks. Library resources, including books, eBooks, articles, newspapers and more, are always free for students to use. If your instructor assigns a resource from the library for your course and you need help finding it, you can always visit the reference desk and ask a librarian for help. Help is also available through online chat, or by calling 619-644-7361.