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The Seahawk

UNCW bookstore to introduce First Day Complete Program for course materials

Outside of the UNCW Bookstore in Fisher. (UNCW)

SGA recently passed a resolution to implement a new program in UNCW’s bookstore, known as “First Day Complete” (FDC). The initiative, which will cover all undergraduate courses, will automatically charge students a set amount of money, approximately $20, per credit hour each semester to receive every necessary textbook or digital program required by their professors. FDC intends to reduce the expenses and time that students spend gathering materials. UNCW already participates in FDC for a few select courses, such as Math 111 and various sections of Spanish and German courses. The program is not required, and students who select to opt out will be provided with a refund on their eBill account. 

“An average semester is about 15 credit hours, so about $300,” said Jake Smith, the Campus Services Senate Committee Chair for SGA. The committee works with issues related to parking, dining, OneCards, and the UNCW Bookstore. They [student]s pay that $300, and then any course materials, books, textbooks, virtual codes- anything like that that they would need to purchase supplementally to be able to complete the course- will be automatically delivered to them before the start of the first day of classes.” 

The current estimated price of course materials per semester at UNCW is $1,300, which means that students would be saving approximately $1,000 per semester. In choosing to approve FDC, Smith explained that SGA looked to other N.C. system schools that have already implemented the initiative, such as UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Greensboro. Smith said both universities have received positive feedback from their students on the impact of the program, which is provided for by Barnes and Noble College Booksellers. 

At UNCW, FDC is being designed and advocated for by the Auxiliary Services department. Gino Galutera, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services, and Megan Allred, Director of Business Services, Communication and Strategy, explained that the program is being pursued as part of the UNC system’s strategic plan; two of the goals it outlines are increasing student affordability and efficiency, which Galutera and Allred said the FDC addresses. 

“What it does is evens out the playing field for all students,” Galutera said. “The idea is that all course materials will be given to students at or before the first day of class, so there’s no need to a-la-cart shop; some students might not even get their course materials weeks after the first day of class.” 

Students will receive an email at the beginning of the semester explaining FDC, with a link to a site with their registered courses; retail and bookstore prices per textbook will be listed as part of a price transparency website model. Then, if they choose to opt out of the program, they will need to do so prior to a set deadline. If students elect to opt back in later in the semester, that option will be available to them. 

Auxiliary Services is still in a planning phase with FDC, which means that it may not be implemented. Galutera has been meeting with campus stakeholders to receive approval. 

“We have a lot of different committees on campus that have a shared governance of different initiatives here,” Galutera said. “We have gone to a couple of different governing bodies, including SGA, Faculty Senate, to be able to talk about the program; talk about the pros, cons… just so we have all our bases covered.” 

As of now, an all-encompassing version of FDC is only being planned to provide for undergraduate courses. The smaller version in which UNCW participates, however, does include a few select graduate classes; the university introduced this program in Spring of 2020 and saw 3,500 students participate. 

Galutera and Allred are hoping to get FDC functional by the fall semester of 2024. Enrolled undergraduate students will be offered course materials based on the modality selected by their professors; if physical copies of textbooks are requested, rentals will be the default selection provided. 

“You don’t have to play those guessing games,” Allred said. “In the by-course program [we have heard about] that whole convenience thing. Everything is available immediately on the first day of class on Canvas and they’re prepared.” 

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