In the near future, students at Minnesota State Community and Technical College will be able to earn a two-year business or transfer degree without ever needing to buy a textbook.

M State is on track to become the seventh Minnesota State college to offer what’s called a Z-degree, an associate degree program with zero costs for textbooks. It’s estimated that students in Z-degree programs can save nearly $2,000 a year, or a total of $4,000 for a two-year program at M State, according to an M State news release.

With a $100,000 grant recently awarded to the college by the Minnesota State system office, M State faculty will begin work this spring on developing the two degrees. While six other two-year colleges currently offer Associate of Arts transfer degrees in the Z-degree format, M State will be the first to offer a business Z-degree.

M State business instructor Marcus Lacher, who submitted the successful Z-degree grant application to the state, said the intent is for M State to offer the two degrees beginning fall semester of 2022.

About 48 M State classes are currently being taught with zero-cost textbook options, she said, but the new degrees will mean a student can complete an entire degree without worrying about surprise costs for textbooks and materials.