Zero Textbook Cost Courses

At the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS), faculty and instructional designers are converting courses that currently use expensive textbooks to Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) sections. The number of ZTC sections offered by the School has grown from 35 sections in Spring 2017 to 266 in Spring 2023, saving CUNY SPS students over $2,377,000 or approximately $80 per seat. As of Fall 2022, over half of all undergraduate course sections are ZTC.

Instead of publisher’s textbooks, ZTC courses use a mix of Open Education Resources (OER), links to scholarly and professional websites, resources from CUNY library databases, and multimedia lectures created by CUNY SPS professors. This work is made possible through generous funding from New York State to promote the use of OER in the CUNY and SUNY systems.

ZTC At A Glance

An icon of a piggybank.

CUNY SPS student savings

An icon of a laptop.

Gen Ed courses are ZTC or low-cost

Icon of an open book

Total zero textbook cost sections

CUNY SPS is home to CUNY’s first bachelor’s “Z Degrees.” It is now possible to complete the Communication & Media, Sociology, and Liberal Studies undergraduate degree programs without ever purchasing a textbook. In addition, as of Fall 2022, 96% of General Education sections are ZTC or low-cost (LTC) with textbooks costs under $25 dollars. Additional course conversions and Z Degrees are planned to launch this year.

Zero Textbook Cost Sections

To find Zero Textbook Cost and Low Textbook Cost (textbook cost under $25) sections, search for the Zero Textbook Cost and Low Textbook Cost Attributes in CUNYfirst or CUNY Global Search. See the video above for instructions.