Hibbing Community College is proud to offer an Associate of Arts Z-Degree, a "Zero Cost Textbook" degree. A Z-Degree is a pathway for students to earn an existing degree, like an AA, without buying any textbooks. Through the dedicated efforts of HCC's Faculty and Staff, students now 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!
Why take a Z-Degree class?
Z-Degree classes provide the same quality education as regular classes, minus the cost of a textbook.
Who can take a Z-Degree class?
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.
How do I register for a Z-Degree class?
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.
Am I limited to the classes that are on the Z-Degree list?
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.
What type of resources do Z-Degree classes use?
- 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
How do I access materials for my Z-Degree class?
- 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.
Are class supplies also free?
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.
How do I learn more about the Z-Degree?
Speak to an Advisor today!