Starting Fall 2021, Hibbing Community College will be offering an Associate of Arts Z-Degree, a "Zero Cost Textbook" degree. Through the dedicated efforts of HCC's Faculty and Staff, students will have the option to take courses as part of the Z-Degree and could potentially graduate with no textbook costs ever!

Through the use of openly-licensed, high-quality electronic textbooks, streaming videos, course modules and other high-quality electronic materials, known as Open Educational Resources, or OER, HCC now offers over 52 distinct zero-textbook-cost courses for the Associate of Arts program. Z-Degree courses may use these free OER or other free resources so students have the option to complete an entire two-year associate's degree without buying textbooks.

On average, HCC students spend $1,050 on textbooks each year. Imagine how much you could do if you could eliminate those costs... By creating these zero-cost-textbook courses, HCC faculty have saved students approximately $375,000 in textbook costs to date!

Z-Degree classes provide the same quality education as regular classes, minus the cost of a textbook.

Anyone can take a Z-Degree class, as long as they meet the usual pre-requisites associated with the class itself. There are no special requirements associated with a course due to its inclusion in the Z-Degree.

Z-Degree classes are available for course registration like any other course. Let your advisor or counselor know that you are interested in taking a Z-Degree class, and they can help you get started.

You can also see the available Z-Degree courses in e-services: When searching for courses, select "Expand/Collapse for Advanced Search" near the bottom of the page and "No cost for textbooks" from the Textbook Costs field.

No. Z-Degree classes are just regular AA classes that do not require students to purchase a textbook. You may choose to take any class you wish, with the understanding that if the class is not on the list of Z-Degree classes, you may be required to purchase a textbook.

  • Open Textbooks
  • Open Courses
  • Other Open Educational Resources (OERs)
  • Zero-cost Textbook "Rentals"
  • Library Resources
  • Free, Copyrighted Resources under Fair Use
  • Works in the Public Domain
  • Faculty-developed Materials

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  • Materials can be viewed online at no cost.
  • Materials may be downloaded to a phone or other personal device at no cost.
  • Materials may be available for optional purchase in a physical format in the HCC Bookstore at low cost (in this case materials will still be available online at no cost).
  • If at any time you have questions about how to access the zero-cost materials used in your course, please contact your instructor.

No. Z-Degrees have Zero-Textbook-Costs, not zero costs. Some Z-Degree courses may require a materials fee for class supplies such as a notebook, lab kit, art kit, yoga mat, or tools.

Speak to an Advisor today!

Begin your Z-Degree journey at HCC today! Apply online.