University evaluating bookstore advance textbook program

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not all students can purchase textbooks by the first day of class; they must wait on a financial aid refund.

In response, the University implemented a pilot initiative – the Bookstore Advance Program at the start of the fall 2012 semester. Eligible financial aid students were allowed to use a portion of their anticipated financial aid refund to buy textbooks and supplies from Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte, the campus bookstore.

Prior to the start of the semester, student accounts emailed roughly 6,700 students who were eligible to participate in the pilot program. Those who elected to join in the pilot received up to $600 as an advance against expected financial aid in excess of charges to purchase books and supplies.

Qualification to participate in the program was based upon a review of the anticipated financial aid refund, which represents money over-and-above student account charges for tuition, fees, housing and other charges. Qualifying students who participated received an advance deposit to their 49er card earmarked for textbooks and supplies. The 545 students who opted into the program had until Aug. 31 to spend the advance; unspent portions were credited back to their student accounts.

“This program is part of our continuous efforts to encourage student success,” said Heather Vetzner, assistant controller and bursar.

Representatives from academic affairs and student affairs implemented the Bookstore Advance Program and will evaluate it to determine future steps.

“This was a great team effort between student accounts, the 49er Card Office and others who helped put the pieces in place for launching this program within a short timeframe,” said business profess analyst Greg Verret.

 University controller Kendra Cooks said the project team views the pilot program as a success that assisted many students with the purchase of their textbooks.