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Instant Access Program Saves Students More Than $190,000 in Fall 2017

In the fall semester of 2016, The Cornell Store launched a program to lower course materials pricing through an efficient new ebook distribution service. The Cornell Store Instant Access Program is operated in partnership with Cornell Center for Teaching Innovation and the Office of the Bursar. It was piloted for fall 2016 with two courses and continued in spring 2017 with four courses. Now in its third semester, the program includes fourteen courses with fifteen different textbooks, and  more than 2,700 students are participating. For fall 2017, Instant Access saved these students an estimated $194,237 over the print equivalents’ next best (lowest-priced) purchase or rental options.

Students in an Instant Access course automatically receive access to their digital course materials, either ebooks or publisher created software, at the beginning of the semester. This means that no student is without their textbook or materials on the first day of class. They get free access to the digital course materials until Cornell’s course add deadline, and then they can decide whether or not to keep the digital materials. If they keep the materials, a charge for an exclusive low price that The Cornell Store has negotiated with the book’s publisher is placed on their bursar account. If they do not want to keep the digital materials, they can opt out of the Instant Access program, and they will not be charged.

Instant Access, or “inclusive access” as it is referred to nationally, is one of the newest and most innovative ideas in course materials delivery and cost savings since the popularization of textbook rental programs several years ago. Many inclusive access programs are currently up and running at institutions across the country. These programs prevent students from falling behind due to not being able to afford to purchase all of their course materials before classes start. The Cornell Store has been working to lower course materials costs for our students in many ways, and the Instant Access program is helping in that effort.

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