College Students Expected to Save $60 Million this Academic Year

December 5, 2018
A book shelf in a library.

College Students Expected to Save $60 Million this Academic Year Using New Subscription Service for Textbooks and Course Materials

After tuition, college students say buying textbooks is their leading source of financial stress, according to a recent survey. In fact, 85 percent of students surveyed said paying for textbooks and course materials is more stressful than buying food, housing, or health care.

For the 2018-19 school year, college students finally have some relief – an estimated $60 million of it – by using a new, comprehensive subscription service from Cengage. Cengage, the largest U.S.-based education and technology company serving the higher education market, provides course materials to almost half of the 20 million students pursuing higher education.

Commercially available to students in August 2018, Cengage Unlimited offers complete access to more than 22,000 digital course materials, including eBooks, online homework access codes, and study guides.  A subscription also includes free access to offerings from Kaplan, Quizlet, and Chegg, with more to come soon. Students pay one price—no matter how many materials they use.  Subscriptions cost $119.99 a semester ($179.99 a year) and are available directly from Cengage, online, or at campus and off-campus bookstores. Print rentals are available for $7.99 with free shipping.

Considering students spend, on average, about $500 annually (with some spending significantly more), the subscription can save students half or more of what they were paying previously. Students may use their financial aid to purchase a subscription.

A new, interactive Savings Map allows faculty, administrators and students to see which courses use Cengage at their institution.  The map highlights more than 500 schools to date.

“In launching Cengage Unlimited, we made a bold move to offer a subscription service in an industry that has historically been loath to change,” said Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage. “It is exceedingly rare that an incumbent, rather than a start-up, transforms an industry.  And yet, the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to Cengage Unlimited—from students, parents, and faculty—underscores that our approach to lower students’ costs, so they can afford to access quality learning, was the right one.  It also works for our business as we are signing an unprecedented number of new student customers.  We are very pleased to have more than 500,000 subscribers, already, and look forward to reaching more students in the upcoming January semester and beyond.”

“To give students more resources at a lower price point is a testament to the company’s focus on student experience, and I’m eager to see how it transforms the higher education system as a whole,” said Bilal Shalash, a senior at the University of Kentucky and a Cengage Student Ambassador.

Cengage is a leader in affordability and access to high quality learning materials. In addition to the first all-access subscription service, Cengage was the first to launch a comprehensive print rental program, with nearly all the company’s titles.  Cengage was also the first major education and technology company to offer an Open Educational Resource (OER) product called Cengage OpenNOW.  The company also actively delivers digital course materials through Cengage Inclusive Access, a business model that offers students savings by integrating the cost of course materials into registration fees.  Finally, the company has instituted price caps on its new print editions and substantial price reductions on its eBooks.


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