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Books for 'Cats

The Books for 'Cats program offers eligible students the ability to borrow course materials (including textbooks, clickers, access codes, and lab equipment) in over 100 selected introductory courses. Eligible students are identified by the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid, and students receive quarterly email invitations with instructions for participating.

 View the list of courses for the 2023-24 academic year

If you have general questions about the Books for 'Cats program, contact Michael Fitzpatrick, Senior Director of FGLI Initiatives ( If you have questions about your eligibility for Books for 'Cats, your financial aid, or your finances, contact Brian Drabik, Senior Associate Director in the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid (


What is the Books for 'Cats Program?

The Books for ‘Cats program loans course materials for selected introductory courses to eligible undergraduate students at Northwestern University. The Books for ‘Cats program offers essential support for these undergraduates' academic success at Northwestern by ensuring they have the appropriate materials for class.

Who is eligible to participate?

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid identifies eligible students based on demonstrated need.

Will participating in Books for 'Cats impact my financial aid?

No, participating in Books for 'Cats will not impact financial aid or other scholarship awards, because students borrow their materials and return them (if returnable) to the University Bookstore when they are finished.

How do I participate in Books for 'Cats?

Eligible students will receive a message before the end of August describing the Books for ‘Cats program and inviting them to participate. Instructions on how students may order their materials from the University Bookstore and when they may pick them up will be included in that email. Students should then return their Books for 'Cats course materials (if returnable) to the University Bookstore either at the end of the quarter or by the end of the academic year.

What are my other options to secure course materials if I am not eligible for Books for 'Cats?

Many Books for 'Cats courses have course materials in the Library Course Reserves. Students can check out the material for a pre-determined amount of time (2 hours, 4 hours, or 1-day) to complete their readings. The Library also has free scanners available for student use. For more information on other ways to obtain your books and supplies, please see this page on Northwestern's Financial Wellness site.