College of Western Idaho’s Z-Degree Classes to Make Courses More Affordable

Published: March 31, 2023

Save money while completing your education by enrolling in Z‑degree classes at College of Western Idaho (CWI)! Designated Z‑degree classes offer zero or low-cost textbooks, making a student’s education journey more affordable.

Beginning in the Fall 2023 semester, Z-Degree classes will be available to all students, regardless of their chosen major, providing an affordable alternative to traditional textbook costs.

A zero-cost textbook refers to any textbooks or course materials available to students at no cost, often through Open Education Resources (OER). According to the Idaho State Board of Education, OER are "teaching, learning, and research materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license, such as a Creative Commons license, that permits free use and repurposing by others."

“CWI is proud to offer accessible and affordable degrees,” said CWI Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Denise Aberle-Cannata. “The Z-Degrees allow students to choose from some courses that offer low to no-cost textbook options. Often students are forced to choose between tuition and books.  The Z-degree allows the student to have both!

In addition to select Z-degree classes, Communication, Liberal Arts, and Philosophy programs offer a Z‑degree Pathway with zero or low-cost textbook options for every class required to complete an Associate of Arts degree within those areas of study.

Z-degree classes are part of CWI’s commitment to providing high-quality education that is accessible to all students. The initiative also aligns with the College's mission to empower students to achieve their academic, career, and personal goals.

The Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little jump-started CWI’s Z-degree classes by investing $1 million into similar programs across the state as part of Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” initiative.

When registering, classes offering a Z‑degree option will be marked with the Z-degree icon.

For those with questions or in need of more information about Z-degree classes, please contact your advisor or email

Z-Degree Classes

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