KPU program offers more free textbooks for students

Students will save up to $5,000 on textbook costs as KPU expands its “ZTC” – “zero textbook cost” - program.

Students completing a four-year general studies arts degree can now do their entire degree without buying any textbooks, instead of paying $100 or more per book.

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Rajiv Jhangiani, KPU's associate vice-provost of open education, co-authored a study that showed 54 per cent of post-secondary students in B.C. do not buy the required textbooks for their courses, while 26 per cent of students choose to not register for a course because of prohibitive textbook costs.

“We also noticed that students making these choices were more likely marginalized whether they be students of colour or first of their family to attend university,” Jhangiani told the Richmond News.

He added that purchases of commercial textbooks have increased more than other consumer goods.

The cost of commercial textbooks rose 10-fold from 1977 to 2016.

There are more than 700 courses at KPU where textbooks are free.

“For us, it was always a goal to be able to get to the point where we can offer students the entire program of studies; it was more of doing all the necessary work to get there,” said Jhangiani.

Students who are interested in doing courses with free electronic textbooks don’t need to apply, but they can register for ZedTC-specific courses on the school’s online course registration system.

“We see the impact of the ZTC courses having a lower withdrawal rates from the courses and are presumably doing better because students are no longer under-performing because they can’t afford textbooks,” said Jhangiani.

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