Academic Solutions · case study

FIU Launches First Day Complete: BNC Blueprint for Implementation Drives Successful Start

When FIU implemented First Day® Complete, branded as Panther Book Pack, it launched an expansive marketing and communications campaign to students, parents, faculty and the campus community. BNC and FIU worked together closely throughout the strategic planning and launch process, supporting a successful rollout; and at the end of the first term, 80% of participating students said they would recommend the program.

THE CHALLENGE/OPPORTUNITY

Florida International University (FIU) has long prioritized innovative solutions for course material affordability. Faculty and administrators at the university played a key role in Florida’s Affordability Counts initiative, which encourages faculty statewide to adopt course materials at a rate of $20 per credit hour. To help achieve this affordability metric, FIU decided to lead the charge as the first in the State University System of Florida to implement a course material access program covering all undergraduate courses for all students.

With the support of longtime partner Barnes & Noble College (BNC), FIU implemented First Day® Complete, branded Panther Book Pack on campus. The program ensures all undergraduate students have access to their required course materials, print and digital, by the first day of class. It bundles course material costs as part of tuition or course charges (as at FIU), resulting in significant student savings – and qualifying all FIU undergraduate courses to meet the Affordability Counts metric.

The partners knew that strategic planning and targeted communications to students, faculty, parents and the community would be vital to the success of the new course material model. FIU tapped into BNC’s First Day Complete implementation blueprint and comprehensive support tools to prepare for launch.

SOLUTION

First Day Complete removes barriers to higher education with improved access, affordability and convenience. BNC has launched this course material model with more colleges and universities than any other provider. For each partner – public and private, two-year and four-year – we collaborate and provide the blueprint of tools, timelines and other resources that facilitate a smooth, successful implementation on campus.

Strategic Planning

The First Day Complete blueprint provided by BNC included a templated timeline of key milestones and list of associated tasks, which the partners customized with specific dates and deadlines based on FIU’s academic calendar and needs. The university then built a cross-functional launch team with representatives from the offices of the provost and deans, Marketing/External Relations, Bursar/Student Accounts, LMS Administration and IT – as well as student leaders. Equipped with a wide range of campus perspectives and insights, the team worked closely with BNC to achieve each milestone leading up to the Fall 2021 launch, including communications with key audiences, an infrastructure review, the faculty adoption process, IT implementation and testing.

Targeted Communications

BNC also provided FIU with a variety of First Day Complete marketing and communications materials, all customizable to align with the Panther Book Pack and meet the unique needs of the campus community. The marketing toolkit included messaging, press releases, articles, digital ads, emails, social posts and other content.

FIU used these tools to create a robust set of resources, ensuring all audiences could find the information they needed. A dedicated Panther Book Pack website (https://onestop.fiu.edu/bookpack/ ) included a detailed set of FAQs as well as pages tailored both to faculty and to students, parents and the general public.

When FIU realized it needed to strengthen understanding of key program details and benefits, the marketing team created a new Panther Book Pack video designed to speak directly to students. The video resonated, breaking through the noise on campus.

RESULTS

BNC and FIU launched the Panther Book Pack on campus in Fall 2021, and the program saved students nearly $3.3 million in just the first term. Participating students gave overwhelmingly positive feedback about the program, and 80% said they were likely to recommend the program to fellow students.

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BNC + Florida International University

Ensuring Access for All Students

“[First Day Complete] is a value. It’s worth it. It does take work. But, it’s a real opportunity to offer savings to your students. It’s a real opportunity to streamline processes. It’s a real opportunity for an auxiliary department to improve revenues and service offerings – and, more importantly, really support the students.”

Kenia Junco,  Director of Retail Operations
Florida International University