Six Minnesota community colleges are now offering two-year degree programs with courses using free educational material, removing the need to buy textbooks, The Star Tribune reported.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College; Lake Superior College; Minneapolis Community and Technical College; Mesabi Range College and Northland Community and Technical College started offering Z-degrees – zero-textbook-cost associate programs – this fall. Central Lakes College was the first in the Minnesota State college system to do so, back in 2017.
“Textbook costs were really negatively impacting our students’ access, success and completion,” said Shannon Kirkeide, Anoka-Ramsey’s dean of academic and community outreach.
Students enrolled in Z-degrees can save up to $2,000, according to Minnesota State. In lieu of costly textbooks, openly licensed educational resources will be used in Z-degree courses.
More Z-degree programs are being developed at Century College, Hibbing Community College, Inver Hills Community College and Minnesota West Community and Technical College, The Star Tribune reported.