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Education Leaders, Students Praise Bold Action to Expand College Affordability and Lower Textbook Costs

  • Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 5:01 pm
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Governor Gavin Newsom signs bill that includes historic $115 million investment in Zero Textbook Cost degrees for California Community College students



LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#californiabudget--A coalition of educators, students, and policy experts are applauding California’s historic budget allocation of $115 million to expand Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree pathways for students enrolled in California Community Colleges.


“We stand in awe of Governor Newsom and the State Legislature for their visionary commitment to increase college affordability in California,” said Gary K. Michelson, M.D., founder and co-chair of the Michelson Center for Public Policy. “In a system where textbooks cost more than tuition at a time when students are struggling with food and housing insecurity, they can ill afford to be taken advantage of. The Governor heard their cries for relief, and his proposal will not only address this crisis now but well into the future.”


“I commend Governor Newsom’s historic investment in California’s college students,” said Keith Curry, Ed.D., President/CEO of Compton College. “Now is the time to tackle the high cost of textbooks, to ensure that higher education is affordable and accessible. As president/chief executive officer of Compton College, I take this issue personally. It is an essential part of our work to find and implement solutions that ensure all students who wish to attend college are able to do so.”


"The Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC) congratulates Governor Newsom and the legislature for their strong support of California community college students in this year’s budget,” said Gerardo Chavez, SSCCC president and a student at Riverside City College. “The cost of textbooks is a significant burden for students, particularly those who are struggling to pay for their education while continuing to meet their basic needs. In providing this funding, the state makes one more step to providing access to the neediest of California community college students."


“California’s historic investment in Zero Textbook Cost degrees is public policy at its best. It scales up a successful model in response to a pressing challenge, and it invests in changes that will reduce the cost of textbooks for California community college students for years to come,” said Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). “SPARC applauds Governor Newsom for his leadership in fighting the rising cost of textbooks.”


On July 27, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 132 which provides more than $47 billion for higher education in California, including the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges, including ZTC degree pathways.


Education Leaders, Students Praise Bold Action to Expand College Affordability


“The California Comeback Plan doubles down on our commitment to making college more affordable and accessible than ever before,” said Governor Newsom. “With massive increases in funding for our world-class colleges and universities, expanded college savings accounts, increased student financial aid and opportunities to gain work experience while learning, we are helping students reach their full potential and driving upward mobility across California.”


The expansion of ZTC will profoundly impact students across the state and those most in need. Recent surveys have shown that 25% of college students 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.


California community college students spend about $700 per year for textbooks. The ZTC program allows students to start and finish their degree programs without paying anything for costly textbooks and other instructional materials.


“We want to deal with the racket... that is the textbook industry that is abusive,” said Governor Newsom at his May 14, 2021 press conference announcing his proposal to provide $115 million for the ZTC program. Governor Newsom called out “the usury nature of the costs associated with textbooks that makes no sense whatsoever except to those that are the beneficiaries of huge rewards on the backs of our children.”


Research has found that students perform better in classes and save as much as $8 for every dollar invested in ZTC degree programs.


The broad coalition includes leaders from Compton College, College of the Canyons, West Hills College Lemoore, San Mateo Community College District, Student Senate of California Community Colleges, SPARC, CALPIRG, The Education Trust-West, John Burton Advocates for Youth, uAspire, Achieving the Dream, among others. A full list can be found at https://www.ztc4ca.com/.


About the Michelson Center for Public Policy


The Michelson Center for Public Policy is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that propels legislative change through meaningful collaboration with elected officials, government agencies, and civic leaders to achieve positive outcomes in education, equity, medical research, and animal welfare. The Michelson Center for Public Policy is an affiliated but separate organization from the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations (Michelson 20MM Foundation, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and Michelson Medical Research Foundation) and complements the Michelson Philanthropies’ thought leadership and expertise with bold and effective advocacy. For more information, visit https://www.michelsonpolicy.org/.




Contacts

Geoffrey Baum
geoff@michelsonphilanthropy.org