Zero Textbook Cost Classes

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Zero Textbook Cost Classes

What is ZTC?

ZTC (Zero-Textbook-Cost) classes have no textbook-related costs, including access fees for online materials. Such classes often use Open Educational Resources (OER) created under a Creative Commons (a public copyright license) that give people the ability to share, use, and build upon a work that has been created. They may also use library ebooks or other sources so there is no cost to the student. Saddleback College faculty have adopted and created OER to provide high-quality educational materials to you at no cost online, and low-cost print options. Click here to view a flyer about our ZTC classes.

Please be aware that there might be other fees associated with the course, e.g., calculator, safety goggles, etc.

Earn a Degree Without Purchasing One Textbook

Saddleback offers 15 ZTC degrees and certificates. This means that students can earn a degree or certificate in one of the following programs without buying one textbook:

  • AAT Communication Studies
  • AAT Economics
  • AAT History
  • AAT Political Science
  • AAT Sociology
  • AA Economics
  • AA Fine Arts & Humanities
  • AA History
  • AA Liberal Studies
  • AA Social & Behavioral Studies Associate Teacher Certificate
  • CSU GE Certificate
  • IGETC Certificate
  • Aging Studies Certificate
  • Aging Studies Interdisciplinary Certificate


Please talk to a college counselor about which courses are in the ZTC pathway for your planned certificate/degree.

How do I find ZTC classes?

Where is my online OER book?

Your OER textbook may be sent as a PDF, be made available on a website, or embedded into the course within Canvas. Check with the instructor of the course for more information.

What if I want a print version?

You may print a copy of the material for yourself but check with your instructor for options. 

Where can I get more information?

Please contact Jennifer Pakula or Nicole Major if you have further questions or would like more information on the ZTC courses. You can also visit the ZTC Work Group page to learn more about the program.

Student Testimonials 

Photo of ZTC student Ashley L.Ashley L.
ZTC Courses Taken:
English 1BH – Honors Principles of Composition II Economics 4 – Principles (Micro)

“The biggest benefits of the ZTC courses were the cost savings and the accessibility. When you’re enrolling for classes you’re a little hesitant because the textbook costs serve as a hurdle. The ZTC materials are definitely more accessible than textbooks. You can access them on your phone wherever you are. I don’t need to bring a book with me. You can get to topics you want quickly because it’s all organized for you. The information in my economics materials was up to date and included charts and graphics to help you understand the concepts.”


Photo of ZTC student Michael H. Michael H.
ZTC Courses Taken:
Economics 2H – Honors Principles of Macroeconomics
 Economics 4 – Principles (Micro)
English 25 – Introduction to Literature

“This past fall I found the ZTC tab in the Class Schedule and I found that lots of courses were being offered with ZTC. I was very surprised with how inclusive the materials were in terms of content. One course (the material) was offered as a PDF while other courses provided a full-fledged digital textbook. The materials included study guides, quick quizzes and being digital, I could use the search function to find a specific thing. The ZTC courses leave more money in your pocket for food, gas, etc. Sometimes a textbook can be more expensive than the class. One of the textbooks for a non-ZTC class was around $200. I was able to take an extra class with the money I saved from enrolling in a ZTC course instead.”


Photo of ZTC student Satanai A. Satanai A.
ZTC Courses Taken:
Political Science 1 – American Government
Sociology 2 – Social Problems

“I was really happy that I was able to save money and still receive a quality education with the ZTC classes. Money, for me, is the biggest factor, I was able to save money and still receive a quality education on top of that. The materials were up to date and featured a lot of recent information which is important for the political science and sociology classes.”