In March 2017, the Kinder Foundation provided a grant of $300,000 to Houston Community College to help launch its Z-Degree Program, with a goal of providing a complete Associate’s Degree program without any textbook costs. The vision was a pilot program to allow students to earn either an Associates of Arts degree in business administration or an Associates of Science degree in multi-disciplinary studies. The grant also supports the program’s staffing and promotion, and the development of Open Educational Resources (OER), the online course resources.
In just over a year, since its first semester in Fall 2017, the offerings of zero cost text book courses has grown to 2,042 students who partake in 24 courses across the Central Campus and Northline campuses (where Year 2 courses are also offered), and at the Spring Branch and Stafford campuses. HCC is tracking the student’s academic performance, with the opportunity to review and compare the effectiveness of face-to-face versus online classes, and Z-Degree versus non-Z-Degree programs.
To accommodate the program’s rapid growth, 20 new faculty members have been hired. In Fall 2019, they will participate in an OER certificate program.
HCC’s Z-Degree program continues to expand and, by Fall 2020, will partner with University of Houston to offer a Business Management Z-Degree. To learn more about HCC’s Z-Degree program, click here.