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Books & Supplies

One of the most expensive parts of going to college can be paying for books. Despite the convenience of the Northwestern Bookstore matching program and financial aid support, financing your books, materials, and supplies, can still be challenging.  Check out some of the options below for help in paying for your books, materials, and supplies.

The Books for Cats program offers eligible students (determined by the Office of Financial Aid) to borrow course materials (including textbooks, clickers, and access codes) from Barnes and Noble and lab materials (coat, googles, and LabArchive) from the chemistry department for selected introductory courses. Participation in Books for Cats will not change a student's financial aid package or interfere with other scholarships because it is a borrowing program; students borrow course materials and return them at the end of their use and by the end of the academic year.  Eligible students are contacted prior to each quarter with an invitation to use the Books for Cats option on Barnes and Noble online ordering site; the chemistry department will contact eligible students enrolled in a Books for Cats chemistry course with an invitation to come pick-up lab materials. 

View the full list of 2022/23 Books for Cats courses. 

If you have questions about the Books for 'Cats program, contact Michael Fitzpatrick, Senior Director of FGLI Initiatives, Provost Office ( If you have eligibility questions, contact Brian Drabik, Senior Associate Director in Financial Aid at 

 Visit our FAQ page for answers to frequently asked questions about the program. 

For literature classes, Project Gutenberg has many classic texts available for free that can be read online or downloaded for the Amazon Kindle (device or Android/iOS app). Many of the items in its collection are the texts of public domain books available at no cost. Check to make sure your professor allows electronic copies in class.

Be sure to check out Northwestern's Financial Wellness website for tons of tips on affording books.

Also, sometimes students don’t realize they have a refund available in their Caesar account. Refunds can help with buying books and required materials. Be sure to check Caesar today to see if you have a refund. Visit this link for full details on how to access your refund. Please note, in order to access your refund, you must do two things: 1) set up direct deposit; and 2) request your refund. Both of these actions can be found in the “Student Financial Services” section of Caesar, under the “More Student Financials” link.

Lastly, Financial Aid does offer a $500 loan that must be paid back by the end of the quarter. This could be a good option to utilize if you have a job and just need money now, before your paycheck hits. Email Brian Drabik in Financial Aid at and more Info here!


Interlibrary Loan and online PDFs are great options for students. Here is a guide on how to use Interlibrary Loan  


You can use the Free or For Sale Group on Facebook, buy Used Books, or use Price Match to find books at a lower cost. Also, our Norris Bookstore matches any price that you find online or in the store. Full details can be found here here.
SPSS, SAS, MATLAB, the Adobe Creative Suite: NU workspace allows you to use software such as SPSS, SAS, MATLAB, the Adobe Creative Suite, and lots more. View a list of available software below. Access is provided through NetID and password. Full details at this link. 

Associated Student Government funds a $12 printing credit that is applied to all undergraduate student print accounts each year. The funds appear in NUprint, which students can access using their netIDs. Printers that use NUPrint on the Evanston campus are located in the Libraries, Residence Halls, and Norris Center. 

In addition, various schools and departments offer free printing to students within those programs. Multicultural Student Affairs offers free printing privileges with a limit of 500 pages per student per quarter. Visit the MSA website to learn more. 

The University Library provides loaner laptops and other technology on a short-term basis. More  information can be found here.  

If all of the laptops are checked out, there are computer labs available in the MCC and Black House for student use and there is also free printing. You can find the building hours here: