Academic Solutions · Article

Getting Students What They Need to Succeed

January 24, 2024


Equitable access is good for the student and the institution. Participating students save between 35-50% on the cost of course materials, are more prepared by having convenient access to textbooks and digital materials before the first day of class, and experience greater academic success. Institutions benefit from higher enrollment and retention, and differentiation in the marketplace.

Three university leaders sat down to discuss how their First Day® Complete equitable access programs aligned with their highest priority goals and mission. Watch the full conversation here and read the highlights below.

Equitable access to course materials levels the playing field. All participating students have access to their required print and digital materials before the first day of class, and save between 35-50%. Whether they select to pick up materials or have them delivered, students are taking advantage of this low-cost and more convenient option for getting the course materials they need for success.

“At USI, student cost [affordability] was the primary driver. That’s been our model for a number of years, since our inception really, to be budget conscious. We attract a lot of first-generation students and so we’re striving to make the cost both affordable and predictable. Many families come from a public-school environment and aren’t used to paying for education. We found many families struggling with that process, and so we really wanted to make the pricing predictable and affordable and make it available to as many students as possible.”
– Jeff Sickman, Controller, Assistant Treasurer, University of Southern Indiana

“Over 90% of our students receive some type of financial assistance from the government, and if the cost of course materials hindered their ability to complete courses and to graduate on time, as a Chair of the Math Department, it was my responsibility to look into that and to investigate and try to come with a solution.”
-Shahrooz Moosavizedeh, Ph. D., Professor of Mathematics, Director of SAIL program, Norfolk State University

“Our strategic plan is focused on expanding our research and expanding the students that are coming to our campus and to our university. So, the equitable access program definitely played a big role. We’re starting to get students from a lot of different backgrounds coming, which we welcome and which we’re trying to increase. This was definitely a good step to take.”
-Monika Skuriat Fritz, MBA, Director, Business Partnerships & Marketing, Auxiliary Services, Lehigh University


Students have many options about where to continue their education. Improving their opportunities for success by offering an affordable, convenient way to access their required course materials before the first day of class, improves their confidence and preparation to succeed. They have an opportunity to start each semester with everything they need.  That advantage can make a difference when selecting an institution to attend.

“I actually had friends who had students both here and other universities, and they would call me or text me and say, “Hey, other schools are just starting to do what you guys are doing.” We felt good about the fact that it gave us a little bit of a competitive advantage for a bit to be in that space, to have that behavior established. I really do think it’s helped us in terms of our recruiting and having something we can have as a selling point to students differentiate us from campuses who aren’t doing this.”
– Jeff Sickman, Controller, Assistant Treasurer, University of Southern Indiana

“We began our program in fall of 2022 and our enrollment has gone up from 5,300 in two short years to a little over 6,000. We are at 6,045 here. I would love to sit here and claim that it was all due to the SAIL (Spartans All Inclusive Learning) program and that was the number one initiative on our campus. It certainly was not, but I can assure you that it had a positive impact because of the number of compliments that we received from the parents especially. It certainly did help both the uptick in our population and also the retention rates.”
-Shahrooz Moosavizedeh, Ph. D., Professor of Mathematics, Director of SAIL program, Norfolk State University

“If students have a lot of options available to them, you want to distinguish yourself.”
– Jeff Sickman, Controller, Assistant Treasurer, University of Southern Indiana

To learn more about First Day® Complete from the student perspective, watch our video – and to learn more about how BNC can support the academic journey on your campus, contact us.

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