KPU expands program with zero textbook costs

Hoping to ease financial strain for even more of its students, Kwantlen Polytechnic University is expanding its programs with zero textbook costs this week.

Launched during Open Education Week running from now until Friday, students in the associate of arts in general studies program can enrol in the 60-credit, two-year program without any textbook fees under the university’s “Zed Cred” program.

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The “Z” in “Zed” stands for zero textbook costs, while the “cred” refers to the possibility of completing all academic credits in the specified program. A certificate in arts and an adult graduation diploma are also offered free of textbook fees.

“This is an important initiative for students in the Faculty of Arts. With zero textbook costs, students in the two-year program can focus on quality education and other commitments without worrying about how to pay for books,” said Diane Purvey, dean in the faculty of arts in a press release.

According to Rajiv Jhangiani, KPU’s special advisor to the provost on open education, 54 per cent of post-secondary students in B.C. do not purchase the required textbooks for their courses, while 26 per cent choose to not register for a course because of textbook costs.

“We found that these students who were making these choices were disproportionately likely to be students who hold a student loan, those who are self-identifying as visible minorities and those who are first to attend university in their family,” Jhangiani told the Richmond News last summer, when the program expanded to include adult graduation diplomas.

“It really for us underscored that this is not just a problem, but this is a problem that’s affecting students who are already marginalized the most.”

Jhangiani estimates that more than 16,000 students have saved over $1.6 million in textbook costs since Zed Cred was first launched.

“The high cost of commercial textbooks shouldn’t be a barrier for academic success,” he said.

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