DETROIT LAKES – M State continues its commitment to affordability with the launch of two new Z degree programs that students can complete without spending a dime on textbooks.
According to an M State press release, college students in Z-degree programs are estimated to save $2,000 a year.
A new $100,000 grant from the Minnesota State Educational Development and Technology Unit will pave the way for the M State Psychology Transfer Pathway program and Associate of Applied Science in Business to become Z degrees as early as fall 2024. Both are two-year, 60-credit programs.
They will be among the first Z-degree options in the state beyond a basic Associate of Arts degree.
“We are proud to add two more programs to our growing list of Z degrees at M State,” said President Carrie Brimhall. “Z-degree programs save our students thousands of dollars and potentially years of debt and can mean the difference between graduation and non-degree. An important part of our mission is to provide affordable education; The cost savings that Z-Degree programs and courses offer help us maintain that commitment.”
M State is one of nine colleges within the Minnesota state system that currently offer Z degrees. Eight other system colleges and universities are in the process of developing Z courses.
A Z degree is a full degree program that uses only course resources that are free to students, such as: B. Open textbooks or free printed, online or multimedia open educational resources.
M State currently has a Z degree program, the two-year Associate of Arts-Liberal Arts and Sciences Z Degree.
Similarly, Zero Textbook Cost courses or Z-Degree courses are courses that exclusively use resources that are free for the students. M State currently has over 70 Z degree courses that can be found in almost 20 different majors.
Many of M State’s psychology and business programs are already Z-degree programs: the new scholarship funds ensure that students can complete the Business AAS and Psychology Transfer Pathway programs with no textbook costs for students.
The grant application was submitted by Marsha Weber, Dean of the School of Business and Information Technology, and Alicia Carley, Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Humanities.
Weber said the award is in part a follow-up to an earlier $100,000 grant the college received in 2020 to explore and develop Z-degree and Z-degree course options. The previous award led to the implementation of many new Z-degree courses at M State, as well as the implementation of the Associate of Arts-Liberal Arts and Sciences Z-degree in Fall 2022.
“M State has already laid the groundwork for the Z degree program and course offerings, with faculty and staff trained to use open educational resources, curriculum plans in place or in the works, and our campus bookstores ready to serve students to help obtain the materials they need,” Weber said. “This new scholarship award will help us continue to build on this strong foundation and expand our Z degree options for the benefit of our students.”
“Students love Z degrees and Z degree courses,” Carley said. “Textbooks can cost them hundreds of dollars apiece, and many of our students are in situations where they have trouble just buying food or paying rent. Z degrees address the financial challenges students face and ensure every student has access to the learning resources they need.”
In addition to the significant savings in Z-degree textbook costs, many M-State students also save significantly on tuition thanks to the college’s scholarship programs and sponsored study options. Currently, 52% of graduate students attend M State University, and the college continues to work with communities and businesses across the area to keep that percentage high.
A member of the Minnesota state college and university system, M State offers credit courses in over 70 career and liberal arts programs to more than 6,500 students each year online and in person at its Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena campuses. The college also works with communities to provide human resource development services and other engaging training programs to 500 companies and 9,000 participants.