Academic Solutions · Article

3 Ways Inclusive Access Breaks Down Barriers to Academic Success

Girl Student shaking fists celebrating her success
February 21, 2022

Today’s college students are navigating more financial and academic challenges than ever before. Rethinking the traditional approach to course materials is one way institutions are stepping up to help make higher education more accessible to everyone.

Inclusive access programs are rapidly gaining traction across the nation because they significantly benefit students, faculty and institutions. Course material costs are bundled as part of tuition or applied as course charges, ensuring students receive their required materials in a digital format on or before the first day of class. Faculty and administrators decide which courses, departments and programs participate in the program, depending on the needs of the institution.

Students in participating courses enjoy greater convenience – and cost savings created through the volume of the program. Most importantly, they start the term on a level playing field, prepared with the course materials they need to be successful.

Impact of Inclusive Access at Houston Community College

The benefits of inclusive access extend not only to students, but faculty and administrators working to deliver more equitable academic experiences. Dr. Donald Parker, M.D., shared three key observations about the inclusive access program at Houston Community College, where he serves as a professor and Inclusive Access Coordinator.

1. No one falls behind due to financial aid disbursement or other funding sources.

“Many of our students receive financial aid, and we also have a number who are either elderly or in the military. They may have to wait a few weeks to get their financial aid disbursement, military waivers or other resources to pay for their course materials.

With an inclusive access program, these forms of payment can be applied for course materials along with tuition. From day one, they have the course materials they need to be successful. They won’t get discouraged because they fall behind and have to play catch-up. All students start out on a level playing field.”

2. Faculty can start teaching on the first day of class.

“For faculty, before, we’d wait and get behind in the sequence we should be following. We’d have to rush through some of the topics and objectives students need to master to be successful. Now faculty have peace of mind that students have what they need, and they can do their job, beginning on day one.”

3. Students can read, study or complete assignments anywhere.

“In addition to the lower costs, students speak to the portability of their course materials. When they’re traveling or even just sitting somewhere, they can pull out their phone or tablet and have access to their materials right there.”

First Day from
Barnes & Noble College

Houston Community College is one of the more than 200 institutions that have implemented First Day®, the inclusive access program from Barnes & Noble College. Each term, First Day saves students an average of 40-60%, and the required digital course materials are delivered seamlessly through the First Day platform in a convenient, single sign-on experience.

First Day can be implemented at the course, department or program level, depending on the needs of the faculty and the institution. This allows an institution to introduce the program at its own pace, laying a foundation and expanding over time.

Students participating in First Day consistently provide positive feedback. In a recent survey, respondents at institutions nationwide confirmed several ways the program is delivering.

First Day is helping to improve experiences and outcomes on campuses across the nation. To learn more about the access, convenience and affordability First Day can offer your campus community, contact us.

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