INSTITUTIONS: Statistics and Support

16 ZTC Programs

Some post-secondary institutions have taken open textbook usage to the next level.

In 2013, Tidewater Community College was the first accredited institution in the U.S. to offer a degree in which students pay nothing for required textbooks.[1] They dubbed this the Z-Degree for zero textbook costs.

Four years later, BCcampus first put out a call for applicants interested in funding for developing ZTC programs in British Columbia. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, one of the grant recipients, was the first to offer a ZTC program in British Columbia and Canada. Another recipient of the BCcampus ZTC program grant, Thompson Rivers University, will unveil its Certificate of General Studies as its first zero textbook cost offering during the 2019/2020 academic year. The Justice Institute of British Columbia, the third recipient of the ZTC program grant, saves its Law Enforcement Studies Diploma students hundreds of dollars each year in textbook costs.

Institutions that offer ZTC programs are encouraged to count student savings that result from courses that use open textbooks within these offerings.

The first zero textbook cost programs were called Z-Degrees when they began in the U.S. When Canadian colleges and universities started considering this approach, the name changed to Zed Cred so the Canuck pronunciation for Z (zee) could be altered to the British/Canadian zed.

Unfortunately, these program labels caused confusion among international, and some domestic, students, who thought a Zed Cred course or program meant they would earn zero or no credit. After discussion with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training and several post-secondary institutions in the province, BCcampus decided to relabel these as Zero Textbook Cost or ZTC courses and programs in its websites, support resources, and communications. A similar trend is happening in the U.S.


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ZTC Programs by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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