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Engage - Opt-out Considerations and Guidelines [UW-Madison]

This document summarizes the UW-Madison Engage opt-out process. Instructions for opting out can be found in the last panel.

One of the primary goals of Engage is to reduce the costs of course materials for students while enhancing the student learning experience. You can access your materials via your Canvas course.

In order to substantially lower costs, and to make it as easy as possible for students to take advantage of the cost-savings and benefits of eTexts and digital learning tools (DLT, e.g., homework or lab software packages), Engage was designed to automatically opt-in all students who register for participating courses. This also means that the costs of the eTexts and DLTs appear on students’ tuition bills, making it easier to apply financial aid accordingly. Sales tax (5.5%) will be added as a separate line item in students’ tuition bills.

While we hope that all students choose to take advantage of eTexts (and DLTs, if applicable), we understand that some may wish to opt-out. To help students understand the considerations for opting out, we have put together the following information and guidelines. It is also important to note that students seeking specific accessibility accommodations can contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center for assistance.

Opt-out Notifications

Students will receive up to four emails prior to and at the beginning of a given semester with information about any classes they enrolled in that will be using Engage materials. These emails include a list of courses using eTexts and/or DLTs, the cost of the digital materials, and opt out information (including a link to this document). 

Note: These emails are informational only - no charge is associated with the email itself. Students can verify this by reviewing their financial account in the Student Center

Here is an example of that email (all things in brackets [] will vary depending on the student, the semester, and the courses/materials):
Email title is "Important - Digital Material Notification for [semester]". Items in brackets include the name of the course, book title, and cost (USD).

Conditions for opting out of Engage

In compliance with Title IV regulations, students may choose to opt-out of using an eText (and DLT, if applicable) in any participating course in two main ways:

  1. Choose a different course section or course - In some cases, the easiest way to opt out is to simply select a different class section or course that is not using the Engage platform. If a student’s schedule or curriculum does not allow this, he/she should consult with his/her advisor as needed.
  2. Enroll in the course, but opt out of using the eText -If selecting another class section or course is not an option, students may opt out of using the eText (and DLT, if applicable) if they are able to legally obtain identical course materials outside of Engage. Opt-outs may only occur during the designated Student Choice Period. Note that this is not always recommended in cases where there is customized content. Some courses’ eTexts and DLTs (e.g., Cengage's MindTap titles and Pearson's MyLabs) have been created or customized specifically for UW-Madison only. In these cases, students should not opt out if they wish to be able to follow along with the rest of their class, or should at least have a discussion with their instructor before choosing to opt out.
    • It’s best to opt out as soon as you know, to ensure your opt-out falls within the 100% refund window. To opt-out, please see the How to Opt-Out section at the end of this document. Depending on how you’ve elected to receive refunds (direct deposit vs paper check), it may take some time to be delivered. The sales tax will also be refunded. You can review this on your your tuition bill via your Student Center.
    • If you have access to the materials from a previous course, you do not need to opt out. The Order Tool keeps track of access and will process the purchase as an Entitlement. You do not pay for Entitlements. If an instructor orders a new edition, an Entitlement will not exist for that new edition. You can opt-out of the eText and access the previous edition, but it is recommended to talk to your instructor before doing so. 
    • If you have purchased materials directly from the publisher - either the exact eText or an all-access plan (e.g., Cengage Unlimited) - you must opt out to avoid being charged for the materials through the Engage program.

Not a student?

If your role in a course is something other than a student, please refer to these notes before opting out:

  • If you are an instructor or teaching assistant (TA), you will have access to the eText at no extra cost to you. When using an eText from a previous semester, TAs or additional instructors (any instructors not listed as the instructor on record) will need to be added to that prior Canvas course. More information can be found here. If you are having trouble accessing the eText, please submit a case to the DoIT Help Desk. If you would like a desk copy, please reach out to the publisher.
  • If you are a senior guest auditor, you will be opted out automatically by the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS). If you do not wish to be opted out, please contact DCS with that request. Opting back in will require you to pay the associated fees and sales tax and may not be an available option.
  • If you are an observer, you will have access to the eText at no extra cost to you. You do not need to opt-out.
  • For any other role, please review the Canvas - Course Roles and Permissions document.

Things to consider

Before opting out, please consider the following:

  • Opting for “all or nothing” - In courses using an eText and a DLT, you may not opt-out of one or the other. By opting out of the eText, you are automatically opted out of the corresponding DLT. The same goes for courses using multiple eTexts - you may not opt-out of one specific text.
  • Students are responsible for obtaining alternative versions - As mentioned above, you will be responsible for acquiring legally obtained, alternative versions of all required course materials. (**Note: This is not possible in some cases. See above for details.) Instructors are not responsible for providing you with alternative materials or waiving course requirements.
  • Risk of falling behind - You risk falling behind in the course if alternative versions of the same materials are not acquired prior to the first day of the course.
  • Switching sections or dropping the course - If you plan to drop the course, or switch to a different section not using Engage, you will be refunded automatically and do not need to opt-out. Refunds for course drops will follow standard tuition refund rules.
  • Accessibility needs - Not all features are accessible. For more information regarding the accessibility and usability of Engage, please review this document. If you need specific accessibility accommodations, please contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Late Opt Out Requests

All eText refunds follow the standard 100% tuition refund date. Any refunds requested after the standard tuition refund date has passed can be requested if they meet the specific criteria outlined in Engage - About UW-Madison Engage fees and refunds.

How to opt out - Student Choice

If, after careful consideration and a conversation with your instructor (recommended) you still choose to opt out, please follow these instructions. Please note, you can only opt out during the designated Student Choice Period (which is listed in the Order Tool).

  1. Log into the Order Tool.
  2. Click My Account in the top right of the menu bar and choose Courses from the drop down.
  3. Select the academic term for which you wish to review your course materials.
  4. You will see all your courses for a term including the following information:
    1. Course subject, number, and title
    2. The Student Choice Period (whether it is open and when it closes)
    3. Title, edition, and ISBN of the course materials (publisher can be viewed by clicking Show more details)
    4. Title Exemption details (some titles may be required by the instructor; if this is the case, it will appear here)
    5. The cost of the digital materials and the savings from the print price
  5. Uncheck the box next to the materials you wish to opt out of.
    Opt Out checkbox is presented here
  6. Click Save at the bottom of the screen to apply those changes.
    Image of Opt Out tool before selecting save
  7. Review the policy details, check the box to confirm you’ve read and understood them, and then click Save.
    Screenshot of policy information window in Opt Out tool
  8. Select Yes to complete the opt-out.
    Screenshot of opt out process is presented here

You will receive an email notification confirming your choice. The email notifications will contain a link to return to the Order Tool if you wish to change your choice while the Student Choice Period is open.

Some additional notes:

  • You no longer need to opt out if you already purchased the eText in a previous course. The Order Tool tracks orders and will automatically process the billing. More information about how this occurs can be found here. If you do still get billed for material that you’ve purchased previously, please contact the DoIT Help Desk for assistance.
    • If you would like to review your purchase history to verify if you’ve already purchased the digital materials, you can by navigating to the My Account menu and selecting the Purchase History view.
    • New editions will not have Entitlements. In these cases, please speak with your instructor to ensure you can use the previously purchased version. Then you can opt-out to avoid paying again and can access the previous edition by following these steps.
  • If you plan to drop the course, you will be refunded automatically and do not need to opt out. Refunds for course drops will follow standard tuition refund rules. For more information on UW-Madison dates and deadlines, please review the registrar's dates and deadlines website. The assessed sales tax will also be refunded.
  • If you purchased the materials or an all-access plan (e.g., Cengage Unlimited) from the publisher directly, you must opt-out to avoid being charged for the materials through the Engage program.
  • You will be able to opt out until the deadline to add a class and receive 100% tuition adjustment. After the 100% refund date has passed, you can contact for special opt-out consideration.
  • If you do opt-out, you will no longer be eligible to purchase loose-leaf copies from the UW-Bookstore.
  • If you try to print pages before opting out, you will no longer be able to opt-out. Printing (and/or saving as PDF) and downloading for later offline use are both possible if you do not opt-out.

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OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2017-10-23 08:41:03Updated2024-04-17 15:50:19
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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