Valley college paves the way for California's Zero Textbook Cost program

Over the years, the Zero Textbook Cost program at West Hills College Lemoore has saved students over $5 million.
LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Valley college is taking action to provide affordable education for its students.

Thanks to the program's success, it's paving the way for other colleges.

For Heaven Cabrera, the cost of college always meant more than just tuition.

"I come from a single parent household and I have two siblings, so when I was trying to decide what college to attend, textbook cost was a big concern for me," says Cabrera.

That's why Cabrera, now a sophomore at West Hills College Lemoore, says her choice was an easy one.

"West Hills was such a viable option because it offered textbook-free courses."

West Hills College Lemoore emphasizes open educational resources. They're digital textbooks provided at no cost to students.

At West Hills, roughly 65% of courses are Zero Textbook Cost.

"The reason we went into it is holistic student support. We're really big about removing barriers for our students and the costs of textbooks was a barrier," says president of the college, James Preston.

Over the years, the program has saved students over $5 million.

"If I had to pay for my classes and my textbooks it would be stressful. I think it's a blessing that the college offers this," says president Laci Rose.

Now they're helping other colleges do the same.

The school is one of two technical assistance providers.

"The two colleges work together with all the other colleges to try and help them develop these degrees," says Preston.

Not only does it save students money, it provides them with unique lessons and learning opportunities

"Just searching in the search bar, finding it immediately is easier and more resourceful and I feel like it's a big help," says Cabrera.

Thanks to added funding across the state, all California community colleges will have the opportunity to develop Zero Textbook Cost degrees and courses in the coming year.

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