Textbook-free degrees

With TCC’s Z-Degrees, here’s what you pay for books: Zero.

Did you know that 

  • Textbook prices have risen 82% in the last decade?
  • You might pay hundreds a semester for textbooks?
  • Textbooks could be 25% or more of your college costs?


But what if you didn’t have to buy textbooks? You could save as much as 25% on the cost of your TCC education.

Z-Degree logoTidewater Community College is a pioneer in the use of openly-licensed, high-quality electronic textbooks and other educational materials for the completion of an entire two-year associate degree.

The materials are known as OER – open educational resources – which are freely accessible materials for teaching, learning, assessment and research.

TCC’s Z-Degree – the “z,” of course, stands for “zero” – means you could save as much as $2,500 on the cost of your education.

Benefits extend beyond saving money.

Our research shows that students in Z-courses:

  • are generally more likely to complete the course, and 
  • earn better grades than students in traditional classes

Which means that textbook-free courses give you a great return on your educational investment.

What Z-Degree programs are available?

Currently, TCC offers a textbook-free Associate of Science in Business Administration and Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies with a Specialization in Technical Supervision. More programs are on the way, and a variety of Z-courses are also offered each semester. Talk to your academic advisor for more information, or fill out the form below.

Finding Z-courses in the class schedule

You don't have to be enrolled in the Z-Degree program to take a Z-course. Textbook-free courses are denoted with the letter Z in the section name.

  • DZ: Daytime Z-course
  • HZ: Hybrid Z-course
  • OZ: Online Z-course
  • NZ: Evening (night) Z-course

Know before you go

Because Z-courses use electronic materials rather than printed textbooks, you will need regular and reliable Internet access in order to complete course work. If you have any questions, please contact the instructor for the course you're considering.

Hear their stories

"I saved about $3,000 a year by using the Z-Degree program. I was able to use that money for childcare."
Rickkita Taylor, student 

"You have access to learning materials any time and on any platform. I completed reading modules from airports without having to carry a book."
Michael Bounds, student

"The future of college in America will include open educational resources. TCC's Z-Degree is only the beginning."
Thomas Geary, Associate Professor of English

Z-Degree in the news


Z-Degree adds up to $1 million in savings plus student retention and better grades


President Kolovani: A textbook case for reducing college costs


TCC launched its Z-Degree to ease the pain of soaring textbook costs

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