Student explores bookshelves in the Fine Arts Library

As part of the Cornell University 2023 Stewardship Report, this story highlights how donor philanthropy is doing the greatest possible good by supporting students and campus experiences.

In fiscal year 2023, undergraduate students at Cornell collectively saved an estimated $2.88 million—or about $145 per student per semester on average—because of the success of the newly established Cornell Academic Materials Program (CAMP).

This optional, university-wide program ensures all eligible students can purchase required textbooks and course packs for a single flat rate of $225 per semester.

Successes from the program’s inaugural year

  • The program made the cost of educational expenses more predictable for students and families, reducing the stress and burden of searching for low-cost materials from different sources.
  • Predictable pricing also helped Cornell’s financial aid office by making it easier to calculate aid and identify leftover funds that could be allocated to other student expenses, such as housing and dining.
  • Optional participation in the program exceeded expectations, with more than 10,000 of the 15,000 eligible undergraduate students choosing to participate in the program during its inaugural year.
  • The program is optional so that students can decide when the program benefits them, and they’re not left paying more than they require.
  • More students were reached since the program puts an emphasis on digital materials and delivery through Canvas, a digital-first program that ensures students receive their course materials before classes begin.
  • This emphasis on digital materials will eliminate thousands of textbooks from being printed and shipped from publishers to campus each semester, contributing to Cornell’s progress in meeting and exceeding its sustainability goals.

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