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Growing Coalition of Academic Leaders, Policy Experts, and Students Call for Full Funding of Governor Newsom's Proposal to Cut Textbook Costs
[June 10, 2021]

Growing Coalition of Academic Leaders, Policy Experts, and Students Call for Full Funding of Governor Newsom's Proposal to Cut Textbook Costs

A coalition of leading educators, students, and policy experts are calling on legislators to fully fund Governor Gavin Newsom's historic proposal for Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree pathways for California students.

"The Governor's proposed funding package for ZTC would profoundly impact students across the state and those most in need," they wrote in a letter to the leaders of the California State Assembly and California State Senate. "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. Governor Newsom's May budget provides $115 million for the ZTC program, which 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 the May budget revision, calling 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."

Among the organizations represented in the coalition include leaders from Compton College, College of the Canyons, West Hills College Lemoore, San Mateo Community College District, Student Senate of California Community Colleges, CALPIRG, The Education Trust-West, John Burton Advocates for Youth, uAspire, Achieving the Dream, and others. The letter and a full list can be found at

"We stand in awe of Governor Newsom's visionary commitment to increase college affordability in California," said Gary Michelson, 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."

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

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