Follett Features

Xavier University Freshman Armed With All Course Materials on First Day of Class

More than 1450 freshman receive books as part of tuition for four years to drive affordability, accessibility and retention

WESTCHESTER, IL, Nov 12, 2018 – The incoming class at Xavier University in Cincinnati experienced something different at the start of the fall 2018 semester. Not only were they part of the largest incoming class in school history—this year, all freshman students were prepared for success on the very first day of class.

For the first time, all 1451 freshman students received course materials as part of their tuition for all four years, thanks to a new customized version of Follett’s includED program. The partnership called Day One, is the first of its kind for Xavier University and allows incoming freshmen to access all required course materials and supplies on or before the first day of class.  

A recent university study suggests that 70 percent of Xavier students failed to purchase all of their required textbooks, and a startling 30 percent of students failed to purchase books at all—due in part to financial hardship. Since offering the program, Xavier students are not only achieving a new level of preparedness but trends from other partner universities suggest they can expect improved grades and higher retention rates. Xavier is among a growing number of Follett campuses that have implemented includED and the program is gaining momentum.

The tuition-based program, which appeals to prospective high school seniors looking for a quality and affordable college experience, helped attracted Xavier’s largest incoming freshman class in the school’s 187-year history.

“From an institutional perspective, we believed this program would bring additional students to us and we were right,” said Jude Kiah, assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services at Xavier University. “More students came to Xavier this fall than ever before, with the majority of students citing the Day One program as one of the top three reasons for enrolling—it became clear our attempt to solve long standing access issues was resonating.”

Follett partnered with Xavier to build a custom marketing and communications plan that included a welcome letter to students, FAQs, parent flyer, student packet, coupon, website, student email, informational signage and wayfinding signage.

Xavier faculty played an integral role in the success of the program—with an impressive 100 percent adoption rate powered by the Follett Discover Adoption technology. Feedback from campus faculty points to the relative ease in implementing the program, all of which starts with the adoption process.

“Faculty often don't think they can contribute to affordability, but they can,” said Roe McFarlane, chief digital officer for Follett Higher Education Group. “By adopting early and on-time, we have more time to source, resulting in greater discounts for the institution and lower costs to students.”

Students received their textbooks during Xavier’s freshman orientation. Parents and students said the program is a testament to Xavier’s commitment to students and their future success.

“When my son learned that his textbooks would be included, he felt like Xavier appreciated and wanted him, and that he was being rewarded and celebrated,” said Jill C. Rice. 

Students can opt out of the program by an established add/drop date. However, over 99 percent of students chose to participate because of the significant benefits.

“The educational landscape is rapidly changing,” said Jennifer Hatton, senior vice president, Retail Operations & Course Materials Strategy, North America at Follett Higher Education. “Innovative, affordability programs like includED in partnership with our institutions allows great things to happen.”