Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT: John Tyler Community College to Launch Degree Program with Zero Textbook Fees

Submitted by Holly Walker, public relations manager, John Tyler Community College

Beginning with the fall 2017 semester, John Tyler Community College is piloting a program in which students can earn an associate degree in General Studies without having to pay for textbooks. Called the Z-Degree, the program uses no-cost, high-quality electronic textbooks and educational materials. The only classroom material a student may have to pay for is a lab kit, required by some science classes, which costs approximately $40. Since textbooks can account for 25% of total college costs, the Z-Degree could save students as much as $2,000. 

Those enrolled in the Z-Degree Pilot Program will earn their degree by completing 16-week classes over four semesters. They also will receive guaranteed enrollment in the most popular courses and will enjoy a morning block schedule that includes classes that generally meet Monday – Thursday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. at the Chester Campus, as well as one online course each semester.

This new program is open to all new students who want to pursue an associate degree in General Studies. To be eligible for the program, students must be college-ready in English and Math. Visit for information on how to determine readiness for ENG 111 and MTH 170. 

Space in the Z-Degree Pilot Program is limited. Those interested in applying for the program must apply for admission to John Tyler; take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT), if required to determine college-readiness in English and Math; apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and submit a Z-Degree supplemental application. Applications will be accepted through July 30, 2017, but review of applications will begin March 31, 2017, so those interested in the program are encouraged to apply early.

More information about the Z-Degree Pilot Program; answers to frequently asked questions; and details and links for the steps to apply may be found at  

Questions about this new program may be directed to Dr. Mary Lou Vredenburg, associate dean of arts, humanities & social sciences, at 804-706-5088 (Chester Campus), 804-594-1458 (Midlothian Campus) or


Editor’s Note: Another of our colleges, Tidewater Community College, also has a zero-textbook-cost degree. In fact, TCC coined the term and was the first accredited institution in the United States to offer it.'

Laura Osberger

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