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60% of DU students use Follett ACCESS to get books earlier, more easily

DU manager calls 40% ‘opt-out’ rate ‘high’

On March 31, 2022

NEW ORLEANS (March 31, 2022) – In its second year of operation, a program to help students get their textbooks earlier and more easily has a 60% participation rate at Dillard, according to Michelle Mattthew, manager of auxiliary services.

Some 40% of students “opt out” of the Follett ACCESS program, a number Matthew described as being “high.” She said some students have complained they don’t understand the program or don’t see its benefits.

Implemented in the 2020-21 school year, every DU student is automatically enrolled in the ACCESS program so the cost of textbooks, lab kits and supplies for courses can be added to their accounts. This allows students to receive their class materials at the start of the semester while paying for them over time if they prefer rather than in one lump-sum.

However, a student may “opt out”; if he or she does so, readmission is not allowed until the next semester. That leads students to purchase their books from other resources, such as Chegg and Amazon. The problem arises because the sites might offer the same books at a cheaper prize but not the access codes that might be required. Some 12 classes this semester require such codes.

Matthew said, “When students go to other sites, they not only may not buy the right book, but Follett owns these companies, so they are still giving funds to the company.”

Matthew said students may choose to have hard-copy textbooks or digital. Virtual lab kits and interactive textbooks are an option.

(Brandie Hayes contributed to this report.)

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