Program Details

Program duration: 4 days / 3 nights
When & Where: Thursday, Oct 13 - Sunday, Oct 16, 2011
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
Arrival Airport: Asheville airport (AVL)
Who: 4-8 participants ages 18-23 (younger participants allowed with special waiver), program leader Blake Boles, plus guest speakers and mentors.
How Much: Fee reduced! $199 program fee includes accommodation, breakfasts, dinners, and activities.
Program fee does not include lunches or transportation to the program site.
Application Status: All full!
Priority Application Deadline: September 27th, 2011.

Join the Free College for Self-Directed Learners


ZTC Camp is a chance for young adults interested in Zero Tuition College to meet, get support, and get inspired.

This three-day program will be jam-packed with ZTC-oriented workshops, discussions, and activities. You'll leave with a detailed plan for skipping college, lots of inspiration, and a cohort of new friends and mentors.

(If you're not familiar with Zero Tuition College, please visit the website and read the blog to learn more.)


Lodging, Food, and Transportation

Our home for three nights will be Sweetpeas Hostel located in the heart of downtown Asheville. Students and staff will stay in a co-ed dorm, enjoy a well-stocked kitchen and common area, free wi-fi, and easy walking distance to downtown Asheville's numerous cafes, restaurants, bookstores, libraries, and other attractions.

Local artist and unschooling mom Genie Maples is generously donating her downtown studio space as a meeting place for our group. We'll also be in easy walking distance to many parks, cafes, and other public meeting spaces.

Transportation from the airport is available via public bus ($1.00). Parking is available at $8/day at the nearby Rankin Avenue parking garage.


Food will be organized and prepared by student work-traders. We will offer a hearty prepared dinner each night (mostly vegetarian/vegan) and do-it-yourself breakfast options. As part of our new reduced fee, participants will provide their own lunches. The group will share clean-up and other light chore duties.

(Also please note that our group will be sharing space with other, non-program guests.

Asheville program location

View Larger Map

Planned Activities

The ZTC Camp will include both structured workshops and informal discussion / bonding time / free time. We want you get the most out of your three nights while not feeling overwhelmed.

Workshop topics will include the psychology of self-directed learning, methods for replacing the college degree, and ways to get support. Other students and guests may lead workshops and short talks. Students will be encouraged but not required to attend all workshops.

Discussion time will include a guided talk about how students can support each other through the year (via meet-ups, accountability partnerships, or forming a student house).

Free time will be integrated throughout the days and nights, allowing students to plan, reflect, and get to know each other. You'll be free to stay up late!

All students will leave the program with a concrete set of goals and potential projects for the upcoming year; a plan for getting support throughout the year; and a big new set of tools for self-directed learning. Plus new friends, great memories, inspiring connections, and more.

Special activities will include:

Asheville and the Blue Ridge mountains
Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Work-Trades and Discount Opportunities

All work-trade opportunities have been filled for this program.


Optional Extension

The program will end at noon on Sunday, October 16--right as the leaves are falling in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. If you'd like to hang around Asheville with other ZTC students (providing your own housing, food, transportation, etc.), we're happy to help you connect and plan this extension with other students. Simply check the "I'm interested in extending" box on the application to indicate your interest, and we'll get you in touch with everyone else who's interested.


Younger Participants

If you're under age 18 and want to participate, we're happy to have you! Here's what you need to know.

Sweetpeas hostel will allow a handful of under-18's to join our group. (They usually require guests to be over 18). Students ages 16 & 17 may therefore apply as normal, but we ask that students ages 15 or younger be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Please be aware that program staff will not provide 24-hour monitoring of younger participants. They will be treated as full program members and responsible young adults--and expected to act as such. Both the minor student and his/her parents will be asked to sign a waiver describing these conditions.


Mentors and Guest Speakers

We're looking to draw a diverse collection of potential mentors and guest speakers from the Asheville area for this event!

If you're interesting in participating as a mentor or speaker, please register on the Zero Tuition College website or send us an e-mail. We'll be happy to have you join us for the day & lunch. Please note that all participants must RSVP before attending; we cannot accept walk-in participants.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I'm parent / mentor / interested adult. Can I join the program?

A: Yes, as long as we determine that participating in ZTC is your first priority. Please apply normally and plan to have a short phone conversation with ZTC director Blake Boles before your enrollment is approved.

Q: What are the rules on alcohol, drugs, and smoking?

A: Because participants of all ages will attend ZTC camp, we ask that no alcohol is present at the program site. Possession or use of illegal drugs will lead to immediate dismissal from the program without refund. Smokers may use the smoking site designated by the hostel.

Q: How can I raise money for this program?

A: Check out our fund raising suggestions for raking up that dough!


Have More Questions?

Contact us via e-mail or phone and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Ready to Enroll?

You may apply now! Please note that the program fee is non-refundable and its full payment is required to secure your spot.