Zero. Zilch. Nada: Textbook Zero @ TCC

I have to admit I am a bit giddy to finally and formally announce Tidewater Community College’s Textbook Zero project, an exciting and innovative pilot project aimed at easing the pain of soaring textbook costs for college student by offering a no-textbook-costs associate of science degree in business administration based on the Textbook Zero model developed by Lumen Learning. Lumen Learning is a Portland, Oregon-based company that helps educational institutions integrate open educational resources into their curricula.


For students who pursue the new “textbook-free” degree, the total cost for required textbooks will be zip, zilch, zero. Instead, the program will use high quality open textbooks and other open educational resources, known as OER, which are freely accessible, openly licensed materials useful for teaching, learning, assessment, and research. It is estimated that a TCC student who completes the degree through the textbook-free initiative might save one-third on the cost of college.

TCC will be the first accredited institution in the United States to offer a degree in which students pay nothing for required textbooks. TCC’s Textbook Zero project will begin with the 2013-14 academic year.


  • Bill Harlow

    I’m hopeful that the plan will be expanded for additional sections. Using only one section seems very limiting to TCC and VCCs students.

  • rsebastian


    TCC is doing a very structured pilot that will be evaluated by an external evaluator. If the results are promising, I am pretty sure they’ll develop plans to expand. I think students may demand more sections before that. 🙂

  • Greg Cook

    Kudos to TCC for this, a rare example of true innovation in higher ed. And…if I’m not mistaken…technically, this is more than one “section,” since it will involve multiple courses (and perhaps sections) necessary to complete the degree.

Leave a Reply