The Impact of Zero-Cost Materials Designations: A State School's Course Marking Legislation

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Open Education Conference 2021

Conference Location



In 2016, [The State] was the second state to pass legislation, SB 1359, that required community colleges and state universities to clearly indicate courses that were free of additional textbook charges with a symbol in the class schedule by 2019. [The University] decided to use the bookstore’s existing textbook adoption processes to implement SB 1359; as a result, no additional workflows were required, except acquiring the bookstore’s textbook adoption list.

After three years of SB 1359 compliance, the [University Library’s Textbook savings initiative team] is evaluating the following:

  • Do the zero cost materials in the course schedule accurately reflect the number of courses that are utilizing OERs or library-provided materials?
  • Is the bookstore adoption process meeting the campus’ needs in implementing SB 1359?
  • Does the institution have any departments providing zero-textbook-cost degree roadmaps?
  • What are the disciplinary trends for offering zero cost materials?

This presentation will discuss the impact that zero cost material markings have had at one institution, along with the challenges of implementing the policy. Discussion of the value of using the bookstore’s textbook acquisition process will touch upon barriers, including faculty who fail to notify the bookstore of their course textbook selection, and departments who develop their own procedures to procure course materials. The presenters will also share potential next steps to improve processes and discuss how this data could promote zero-textbook-cost degrees and student success.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Review the impact that zero-cost material marking has had at one institution to see if the same can be adopted at participants’ institutions
  • Explore different methods used to implement zero-cost material markings