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Towson University

University Store Direct Access and Affordable Course Materials Initiative


Direct Access converts physical course materials into instantly accessible, totally interactive and adaptive digital content, while drastically reducing the cost to students. 


The goals of this initiative are to (1) provide students with more affordable course materials, (2) improve educational outcomes for students and enhance the student experience on a common digital platform via Blackboard, and (3) position Towson University with UMBC to be ahead of the curve with digital content.



The Very Simple Process:

  • Students are sent an email two weeks before classes begin with instructions on how to access their digital course material content. Access to the content is through Blackboard and available before the first day of class.
  • Students enjoy free access to the content during the first two weeks of class.
  • After the free two weeks, to retain access a student does nothing! A charge is conveniently billed to the student’s university account.
  • If a student chooses to opt out of the program, they can do so easily by watching Opt Out instructions Video and access will be turned off and no charge assessed.


General student inquiries, including opting instructions:

Usability/access issues, enrollment pre-opting-deadline:

Billing, enrollment post-opting-deadline: [email protected] :  [email protected]


Direct Access and Affordable Course Materials Initiative FAQ 


1. What is Direct Access?
The Direct Access program is a new textbook model in collaboration with publishers that converts books into digital content. All students enrolled in a class purchase the content, lowering the cost for everyone. All students in that class also get access to the content on the first day of class and won’t be billed for it until after the tenth day of class. The digital content also includes Interactive Learning Platforms.
2. What is an Interactive or Adaptive Learning Platform?
Interactive Learning Platforms are much more than e-books. They are interactive software platforms developed to provide an enhanced learning experience beyond reading the text. They may include multi-media video and audio presentations, adaptive quizzes and homework which link directly to the text. They also allow for various levels of customization by the instructor and peer-to-peer sharing of notes.
3. How much does Direct Access cost?
The price varies depending upon the course materials chosen by the instructor, but most are priced at an average of 50% to 70% off of the cost of a printed text.
4. How will I get my access code?
If your instructor is using Direct Access, you are already enrolled. You will be notified via email prior to the start of class with access instructions, the discounted pricing and information on opting out.
5. How do I pay for my access?
The access is free for the first 10 days of the course. After 10 days, all enrolled students who have not opted out of the program or dropped the course will have the discounted price billed to their student account. No waiting in line with a heavy, expensive book!
6. What does it mean to opt-out?
If you do not wish to participate in Direct Access, you have the first 10 days of class to opt out of the program online (the opt-out procedure will be included in your emailed information). If you opt out by the deadline given, access to the online content will be turned off and you will not be billed.
7. I opted out by mistake and realized that I still need my access. Can I opt back in?
Yes. Simply email the UStore at [email protected] to request that your access be reinstated.
8. I did not opt out, but I did not register my access or use the online platform. Will I still be billed?
Yes. All students who are enrolled in a course using Direct Access are automatically considered part of the program. To avoid being billed you must opt out online during the first 2 weeks of class.
9. I dropped the course. Do I still need to opt out?
Students who drop the course during the first 10 days of class will automatically be “opted out” and will not be billed. Students who drop after the tenth day will have five days to notify the UStore at [email protected] to request a refund.
10. I forgot to opt out and missed the deadline. Can I get a refund now?
Once billing has been completed, the only option for a retroactive refund is with withdrawal documentation. Please email the UStore at [email protected] with documentation to request a refund.
11. Who should I contact if I am having trouble with access to the online content?
First, try the online help desk of the publisher for you course’s content (see links below). The publisher of your content should be listed in the initial email you received about your access. If you are unable to find your publisher is, or if you are unable to get resolution from your publisher please contact the UStore at [email protected] for further assistance.
*Pearson Publishing:
*McGraw-Hill Publishing:
*Cengage Learning:
12. I already have access to the online platform from a previous course. Can I continue without paying twice?
If you are in a continuing series course and paid for access, you can log in with your original account and simply assign your new course ID to access the homework.
13. I added the class late. Do I still have 10 days before being billed?
Billing begins on the 11th day of class. If you added the class on the ninth day or later, you will have 48 hours (two days) to decide whether to opt out before being billed.
14. I didn’t get an email about my course, but other students in my class did. Was I sent an email?
All enrolled and wait-listed students are emailed about the program. If it is not in a spam folder or was accidentally deleted, email the UStore at [email protected] for access instructions.
15. I have further questions that were not addressed. Who do I contact?
If your question wasn’t answered in the FAQ, please email [email protected] for more information.
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