Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers



SDSU Bookstore Promotes College Affordability at Freshman Orientation

Posted by Liz Schulte on 7/29/19 6:00 AM
Topics: campus store, college affordability, freshman orientation

The SDSU Bookstore’s relationship with students begins before classes start. Students need a reliable place where they can purchase their course materials, but great campus stores like the SDSU Bookstore offer so much more. The SDSU Bookstore educates freshman students and their families during orientations by giving them tips on how to save money on their course materials.

SDSU Bookstore Promotes College Affordability at Freshman OrientationThe SDSU Bookstore offers transparency on textbook costs

One of the first opportunities the Director of Campus Stores Kathy Brown has to speak with students and parents about course materials is during the “Money Matters” freshman orientation session in July.

“We let people know how they can save the most money on textbooks. They really appreciate that transparency. We also share information on our programs like our price comparison tool with them,” Aztec Shops Director-Campus Store Division Kathy Brown said. “We also have Price Match-PLUS. This program offers students price matching plus an additional 5 percent off the lowest price.”

Programs like this help independent college stores compete with online vendors, and these programs ensure students can get the best deal possible from the campus store.

Brown said, “It is also important for independent stores to communicate that they are a non-profit and all of our net proceeds go back to the University to support student programs. I include this information during the Money Matters session at orientations.”

Student affordability and success

In addition to sharing tips to help lower student costs during orientation, the SDSU Bookstore has implemented several programs that have successfully lowered textbook costs to students.

“Sourcing has helped lower used prices for students by 15 percent. In 2016, we started an Immediate Access program. We started with two classes and about 400 students. Today, we will end this year with 164 classes and about 40,000 students enrolled. That has meant nearly $4 million in student savings this year,” Brown said. “We have an average of a 95 percent student participation rate. It’s beneficial to the students because it saves them money and faculty really like the program because they know that all their students have access to their course materials on the first day of classes.”

Aztec Shops put students first

In the fast-evolving collegiate retail market, it is more important than ever that students see the campus store as an ally trying to help them succeed and graduate. By offering students and parents greater transparency as well as maximizing student savings, the SDSU Bookstore helps make college more affordable and demonstrates that students are more important than the bottom line. 

“I really do see it as part of my job to help the students. With the cost of textbooks going up, we really have to work to lower costs even if that means cutting our margin,” Brown said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow to have to go to your boss and say we’re going to lower our margins, but it’s the right thing to do.”

The latest sourcing tool from MBS

About Liz Schulte

Liz Schulte is an author and business owner with a background in customer service, marketing and higher education development.

Article comments

Subscribe for updates

Share your experience

Contact our editorial team to set up an interview or to contribute a guest post.

Most popular posts