Lansing Community College Saves Students Money With More Options
Custom solution to save students money
Michigan boasts 28 community colleges across the state, and with a full-time enrollment of 12,512, LCC is the third largest, offering students the opportunity to fulfill two years of general education requirements in more than 80 fields before transferring to a four-year school.
Controller Lisa Mazure said LCC had never had an on-campus or Online Bookstore, so the challenge would be finding a provider who stood above the rest.
"We needed to offer students more options to lower costs," she said. "We put out the request for proposals to see what was available."
How LCC students finance their course materials is split between student financial aid and those paying out of pocket.
“49.6% use financial aid and 50.4% pay out of their pocket,” Mazure said. LCC students receive financial aid three weeks into the semester. To ensure students have the proper course materials on day one, a unique integration process was designed, connecting the LCC SIS and MBS Direct. Students connect to the school’s SIS, opt-in to use their course materials vouchers and select which materials they would like for the term. After confirming their purchase, the student and LCC know in real-time how much student financial aid remains on a student account, saving time and giving students the option to make key purchases with their remaining funds.
We got a good reading from other schools MBS Direct works with. The large warehouse and flexibility in terms of ordering and returning was what we needed. We were able to verify that the customer service [MBS Direct] offered would be delivered on.— Lisa Mazure, Controller
"Students are provided an advance of up to $600 on the LCC MBS Bookstore," Mazure said. "Students can log on and see in real time how much they have available on their book voucher. When their financial aid is dispersed later in the semester, the amount of book voucher used is deducted from their financial aid."
Eligible students have the same purchasing options using their Online Bookstore as they would in a brick-and-mortar store. However, the real-time status of SFA is unique to the LCC integration.
To further support cost-saving initiatives, LCC takes advantage of textbook rentals, Guaranteed Buyback and the Marketplace option. All enable students to use their financial aid for their purchases, offering more options and the opportunity to save.
Guaranteed Buyback shows the true cost of ownership at the initial purchase by informing students how much they will receive at buyback.
Minimizing student costs
The OER option has also found a home with LCC due to the support from MBS Direct.
"MBS has been willing to help us with OER," Mazure said. "If the class lends itself to OER, it is a great option."
LCC takes additional steps to minimize costs to students.
"LCC chose to not take the normal commission associated with the MBS Bookstore," Mazure said. "Instead those monies are put back into LCC's account to allow students to receive even deeper discounts."
To date, LCC has saved students more than $353,000, and their efforts resulted in winning the CACUBO Best Practice Award for Community Colleges in 2017.
Flexibility and options
Students and administration are pleased with the flexibility the Online Bookstore provides, along with the cost-saving solutions from multiple purchases or rentals.
"The students are very happy," she said. "MBS Direct has been great to work with, and the customer service has been fantastic. If we send an email, everything is taken care of immediately. If a student orders the wrong book, we send an email, and MBS Direct makes it happen."
Along with successful cost-saving initiatives and an intuitive Online Bookstore, Mazure said LCC has been grateful for the support on-campus.
"The students are very happy. The students love MBS Direct on campus for the buyback," Mazure said. "MBS is willing to make things a priority and have all hands-on-deck."
About Lansing Community College:
- FTE: 12,512
- 49.6% of sales purchased using SFA
- Third largest community college in Michigan
- Options — Offer students more ways to save with rental, Guaranteed Buyback, digital material and Marketplace
- Integrations — Seamlessly connect your SIS with MBS Direct — know, in real-time, the amounts students spend on course materials
- Student Financial Aid — Students can use SFA for new, used, rental, digital and Marketplace options