Academic Solutions · Article

Student Impact Driving Rapid Growth of the First Day Complete Program

July 13, 2023

Students participating in Barnes & Noble College’s First Day® Complete program have spoken — not only are most sharing they achieved better grades in the term, but they also agree the program was more convenient and reduced the stress and cost of buying course materials. Positive feedback from students (and administrators) is driving adoption of the equitable access program at more and more institutions of all types and sizes, including four-year state colleges or universities, four-year private colleges or universities, and two-year state community colleges or technical colleges. It’s a timely example of how the campus store remains relevant and impactful in supporting students on their academic journey—and of how BNC is innovating to meet the highest priority needs of partner institutions.


First Day Complete removes barriers from higher education by improving access, affordability and convenience. Students receive their required course materials, in both physical and digital formats, before the first day of class. Costs for those course materials are bundled as part of tuition or a course charge, saving students an average of 35-50%.

Students consistently provide strong feedback about First Day Complete and the positive impact on their academic success. Recently, Barnes & Noble College conducted an online survey of students who participated in the program during Spring 2023. Nearly 4,000 students across 110 campuses responded, representing four-year public and private institutions, and two-year state community colleges.

Driving Academic Success

  • 86% of students said they were better prepared for the academic term with First Day Complete
  • 83% said the program had a positive impact on their success this term
  • 75% said the program helped them achieve better grades this term

“I believe that this program helped me to achieve better grades because it ensured that I had the correct books and versions of the books that I needed for each of my classes. The program helped to ensure that I had access to all the information needed for my course, which set me up for success and in turn achieve better grades.”

–Student, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

 Greater Convenience and Affordability

  • 92% said First Day Complete saves time shopping for course materials
  • 91% said it was convenient to have their course materials bundled
  • 83% said the program has provided more affordable course materials

“Textbooks are expensive. Having a discounted bundle is helpful. Not only does it save you money, but it also gives you materials needed to excel in class.”

–Student, Hawaii Pacific University

High Student Satisfaction

  • 90% of students said they would participate in First Day Complete again
  • 89% said they would recommend the program to other students
  • 78% said the program increases the likelihood they will continue their education at their school

“The idea that I didn’t have to worry about getting the right books and they were substantially cheaper helped my stress which helped me focus on school.”

–Student, Onondaga Community College


First Day Complete continues to experience rapid growth in institutional adoption, as more and more higher education institutions recognize the benefits, including lowering the cost of education, improving student outcomes and reducing stress. A total of 157 campus stores are implementing First Day Complete in Fall 2023, a significant increase from 111 stores in Fall 2022. And, while the initial participants in the program largely were undergraduate students, their endorsement has prompted a number of postgraduate programs to participate as well.

In total, nearly 800,000 students nationwide will have access to First Day Complete by the fall, and more schools are signing on for the spring to bring the program’s benefits to their students as soon as possible.

BNC partners with institutions of all sizes to help them achieve their highest priority goals, including lowering the cost of education, improving student outcomes, and reducing stress. First Day Complete offers valuable benefits in each of these areas, helping students be more prepared for the academic term, enhance their overall experience and improve their academic outcomes.

“As important as textbooks are, most students delay purchasing them because of cost, and many avoid purchasing them altogether. That can have a serious impact on their chances of success. We want to give students every advantage, so we’re excited to launch the Eagle Advantage program.”

–Dr. Scott Ralls, Wake Tech President

For additional perspectives on First Day Complete, watch our video to see how students experience the program. Contact us to discuss how BNC can support the academic journey on your campus.

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