Verba User Stories | CMU Bookstore at Central Michigan University

Sleeping Soundly:

CMU Bookstore Regains Control Over Their IA Program with Verba Connect

Total Enrollment Student Information System Learning Management System
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Central Michigan University was struggling. Barry Waters, director of the CMU store, had gone to bat with his administration in favor of moving to an Inclusive Access model. His desire was to improve course materials affordability and day-one access for students. While affordability and access did improve, the program was a challenge to manage.

"Losing Sleep"

The platform CMU Bookstore initially selected to power their Inclusive Access program was not operating smoothly, and was causing dozens of hours of manual work on the part of the store. Barry was losing sleep over it, and as days passed while the store waited to bill students’ financial aid, the possibility of that money no longer being available for course materials grew more likely. This would leave the store without reimbursement for all those units.

Switching Things Up

To shore up the Inclusive Access program, and to allow for future growth, the store decided to switch to Verba Connect to manage its program. Verba Connect powers the largest IA programs in the nation, including the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and University of Missouri. Tools such as real-time pricing analysis to ensure the best priced options for students, detailed reports and analytics to monitor the success of the program, and automated consolidated invoicing streamline the process even further, and make scaling an IA program manageable and largely hassle-free.

CMU piloted Verba Connect during the summer with seven courses and 130 students, and quickly realized the platform would be a seamless, easy experience for students, instructors, and administration.

“We switched to a focus of student success and student affordability,” said Barry Waters. “To have the ability to save students money and get them their materials on day one is really important for us. With Verba Connect, Inclusive Access exploded for us. The experience was very simple. Verba Connect was very user-friendly, so that really helped to make it a lot easier to transition.”

Growth, Measured

Inclusive Access powered by Verba Connect worked for CMU’s bookstore, administration, and—most importantly—for the students. Ninety-seven percent of students opted to stay in the program during the summer pilot. Now, heading into the fall semester, 43 different courses with 169 sections for a total of over 4,500 students are signed up for Inclusive Access.

Kim Yates, assistant director of the CMU Bookstore, added, “The Verba | VitalSource team has made scaling up this quickly very easy.

"I put in a help ticket on the Connect site, and that same day I get the answer I need.”

CMU is just one semester into their Verba Connect IA program and they’re already seeing big savings for students. They estimate their students saved nearly $1 million in course materials between the summer and fall semester of 2018.

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