How Follett management of the MCC Campus Stores has benefited students

The five MCC Campus Stores are now entering their second full year being operated by Follett. Here’s a look at how students, faculty and the College have saved money and otherwise benefited from the changeover from MCC management of the stores to management and upgrades by Follett Corp.

In bold: some of the benefits that were touted before the arrangement started.

In italics: the benefits that have been realized, as reported by MCC Auxiliary Services and Business Relations:

For students
  • Follett will bring a wealth of new competencies, including the capability to stock larger numbers of used and rental textbooks, saving students 25% to 50% or more over current pricing. Rentals can save students up to 80% off the price of a new text. MCC students have saved more than $1 million off new text pricing by renting (for the one-year period that ended in February). Students who’ve bought used books have saved $194,950 off new text pricing.
  • Follett will offer a “Price Match Guarantee” on all in-stock items for students. This saved students $18,364 for the spring 2017 semester.
  • Book buyback will be offered to students year-round, rather than on limited schedules. Students recouped $173,797 through our buyback option (for the one-year period ending in February).
  • Store inventories will be greatly increased at all locations including grab-and-go food items and tech merchandise and accessories.  Coffee and grab-and-go food have been added to the HSI, MCC-Penn Valley and Business & Technology stores. BT also added hot items such as hot dogs, soup, pizza and taquitos. K-Cup Starbucks coffee was added to the MCC-Blue River, Maple Woods and Longview stores. Apple computer products are now available for purchase on the store’s website.
  •  Students will be able to make purchases at any store location for any MCC class, typically with a 24-hour turnaround time (buy anywhere, pick up anywhere). Students do have this option, which adds to their convenience.  Follett has staff transport between campuses, or can send items via FedEx.
  • With the online Follett Discover tool, students will see all their course materials appear in a shopping cart. If the adopted material is available in a digital format, students can use the system as a “shelf” to house the materials they have purchased.  After testing, this has now gone live collegewide. By making access to materials easier for students, the hope is that students are able to come to the first day of class prepared for learning, which should support positive student outcomes.
  • The Follett marketing plan is designed to transform the Campus Stores into inviting destinations for students. Snack offerings, coffee and the overall layout of stores has made stores more inviting.
  • The marketing and internal training programs for Follett employees stress that Follett is truly in the service business and not simply in the bookselling business. Follett has been responsive to correcting any issues that have arisen. We are currently exploring new options with Follett in terms of open source documents.
  • Follett will provide $50,000 annually in textbook scholarships for MCC students. Through this program, two years of student scholarships have been awarded totaling $100,000 to support enrollment, completion and affordability
For faculty
  • Book adoptions will be done electronically through the Follett Discover program, with ease of use and efficiency for faculty. Follett offers a tool for faculty to research alternative textbook resources, most commonly used textbooks, cost comparison etc. through Discover. This system was piloted at BT this summer and now is offered collegewide for fall adoptions with an improved system.    
  • Through Follett’s system, faculty will be able to research and select materials they wish to adopt through the Follett Discover program. Among other benefits, this system will allow them to search most commonly used materials and cost-compare textbook options and adoption strategies. All tools are available via Discover.
  • All required and recommended text titles will be in stock at least two weeks prior to class start. Course material and textbook inventories will remain on store shelves throughout the academic term. The majority of the time, this is not an issue. There have been occasions of  incorrect adoptions being submitted or the incorrect numbers ordered, and in those cases Follett has paid extra to overnight shipments.  If an incorrect custom packet has been ordered, there usually is a longer processing time that could prevent materials from being in store within a few days. As issues arise, we work closely with the faculty member and bookstore manager to correct the problem as quickly as possible.
  • Faculty may create custom digital course packs or author their own works to be distributed through BryteWave powered by Vital Source. Students will have free access to this tool, which may also be set up for group exercises if all students chose to utilize a digital tool. This is available to all students and faculty, and more information and training will be shared over the next year.
  • Follett will offer MCC faculty and staff a 10% discount on all purchases over $1, excluding textbooks, sale merchandise, computer hardware and academically discounted software. Follett will offer all MCC departments a 20% discount on purchases of supplies over $1 with the same exceptions. Frequently used by many, the discount is available at all stores.
  • Follett offers a website for employees and staff to purchase MCC-branded merchandise and promotional items. The website is active.  All specialty items are approved by MCC Marketing prior to Follett producing it. 
For the College
  • Follett will make $780,000 in physical improvements to bookstore spaces to enhance each store’s image, attract customers and increase sales. The remodels were completed. The project team is working on additional storefront signage. The overall layout and quality of experience have been greatly enhanced at no cost to MCC.
  • Follett will spend $140,000 for technology upgrades at all bookstore locations. This has been completed. There are additional cash registers in use during peak times as part of this investment as well to help shorten lines. 
  • Follett will pay MCC a one-time payment of $500,000 upon implementation. This was received and was used to help fund the Student Success Center at MCC-Penn Valley.
  • Follett agreed to employ all the MCC full-time bookstore employees at their current salary level, at the employee’s option. MCC developed other similar positions for these employees that will be offered to the employee as well.  All full-time employees with the exception of one chose to stay with MCC in new roles.

“We are excited that this partnership has continued to benefit our students, faculty and the College, and we look forward to continuing to expand ways to support student success,” says Shelley Temple Kneuvean, vice chancellor for financial and administrative services.