Student Success | Affordability | Cyclone Spirit

We make student success and affordability a priority for our students. Whether it’s finding the right textbook for class, a computer fit for your major, Cyclone spirit gear, and even your graduation cap and gown. We are excited to be part of your Iowa State adventure, from your first day to your graduation day!

Everything you need, in just 4 simple steps!

Step 1: Watch the Video

Prepare for your first day of class with textbooks and technology at the ISU Book Store. Learn how to use your book list, find a computer fit for your major at TechCyte, and explore all the Book Store has to offer! This 3-minute video is the fastest and easiest way to start your journey at Iowa State!

Watch New Student Welcome Video

Step 2: Download the New Student Guide

Use this new student booklet to guide you as you begin your adventure at Iowa State. Explore exclusive programs for Iowa Staters like Immediate Access, Major Success, free software, and perks of working on campus. Did we mention all purchases are sales tax free?

View/Download New Student Guide

Step 3: Order Course Materials

Are you registered for classes? Check out your book list! You can place an order, view your required Immediate Access digital course materials, and use the price comparison shopping tool. Choose shipping or free in-store pickup!

Order Your Course Materials Online

Step 4: Buy Major Recommended Computer

Did you know Iowa State requires students to have a laptop? Review the computer recommendations from your college and save big when you purchase Apple, Dell, and Microsoft directly through Iowa State.

Shop Major-Recommended Computer

Can't make it to the in-person Orientation?

Book A Zoom Appointment With Us

Did you know Iowa State requires students to have a laptop? Review the computer recommendations from your college and save big when you purchase Apple, Dell, and Microsoft directly through Iowa State.

Test Device Setup Before your Meeting

Meetings are held by Zoom, so we recommend that you join a test Zoom meeting ahead of your actual appointment to familiarize yourself with the Zoom and test your microphone/speakers

Setup & Test Zoom

Frequently Asked Questions

Textbooks & Course Materials

After you establish your class schedule, you will find your book list in your account at You will log in with your Iowa State ID with OKTA, click on “My Account”, and then “My Curriculum.” Textbooks and course materials can be ordered directly from your book list, plus you can compare your textbook prices with Amazon and other popular online retailers.


Memorial Union Pick-Up:
Place your order online directly from your book list. We will pull the books, you pick them up! It’s fast, easy, and free!

Place your order online directly from your book list. Input the address where you would like to receive your delivery and complete your payment information. Remember to update your address if you are moving to Ames!

Do you like to pick out your own books? Go for it! We are open 7 days a week for you to stop in and shop for your course materials. Our textbooks are shelved alphabetically by author for your convenience.


Our print textbooks start to become available about 4-6 weeks before the semester begins. Used and rental books are first come, first served, so consider placing your order a few weeks before classes start to secure these affordable options.

If you are interested in eBooks rather than print books, you can order anytime because eBooks are always available! Just watch for the time duration of the eBook to ensure you will have access for the entire semester. And, if you have Immediate Access materials required for your course, you will not have anything to order, we will make sure to load them directly into Canvas for you!


Immediate Access is Iowa State’s digital course material initiative that automatically loads your required course materials into your Canvas courses. Students receive access on the first day of class, the charge is automatically applied to the U-Bill, and receive Iowa State’s lowest price in the market. If your faculty has chosen to use Immediate Access for any of your courses, details will be posted in your book list and in Canvas. Students can request to opt-out and receive a refund within the first 10 days of class (5th day of class for partial semester courses).

Click here for more information about Immediate Access materials at ISU.


Not at all! We provide many options to save like used textbooks, rental, and eBooks. Check out the price comparison shopping tool located inside your book list. You can compare textbook prices with Amazon and other popular online retailers right from our website. It’s super easy! Saving students money on textbooks is important to us!


You can put course materials including Textbooks, eBooks, Coursepackets, Lab Supplies, Art Supplies, and School Supplies on your U-Bill.


Your instructors choose the specific book and edition that will be used for your classes. The instructors are required to submit their course material and textbook requirements directly to the ISU Book Store ahead of the upcoming semester. As we receive information, we publish to your book list as soon as possible.


Required: Required means that the material is essential to be successful in the course.

Alternate Choice: Alternate Choice means there are other versions of the Required material. You only need to choose one or the other, not both.

Recommended/Optional: If your instructor designates a material as Recommended or Optional, it is not essential to be successful in the course, but will be a supplemental resource for the course content.


Students have the first week of classes to return textbooks for a full refund. Even better, during the second week of school, if you have dropped a course, you can still get a refund. You must have your receipt and be sure the books are in the original purchased condition.


Whenever possible, we offer new and used books to be rented rather than purchased. This allows you to rent a textbook for a certain amount of time and return it at the end of the rental period, which is at the end of the semester. Rental textbooks must be returned in good condition with no damage done to the book and minimal marks inside. Students can rent their textbooks in-store or online.


Top Hat is an interactive learning software used by instructors in the classroom. They will use this tool to take attendance, live quizzing and polls, and so much more. If this is required for your class, it will be listed in your book list to purchase from the ISU Book Store. Once you complete your purchase, we will send you a digital access code to activate Top Hat on your laptop and/or mobile device.

Top Hat is sold as a subscription – 1 Semester or 1 Year – so you can choose what is best for you. If you have multiple classes requiring Top Hat, you only need to purchase one subscription to cover all of your classes for the semester.


Use the New Student Guide to find your checklist of Cyclone Tech & Supply Essentials. Get organized for class with a laptop, backpack, notebooks, desk accessories, organization, and of course your Iowa State t-shirt to show your school pride! Any required supplies, like Lab Coat and Goggles, will be listed on your book list. It’s best to always take note on the first day of class for any additional needs your instructor communicates.


Digital items are yours to keep, but many will probably expire after a specified period of time. If you purchased a lifetime/perpetual eBook it will remain in your VitalSource Bookshelf forever!

Rental textbooks are due back during finals week. Don’t forget! Otherwise, you will be charged the buyout fee and you will own the book.

Buyback is a chance to sell your books for cash! If you purchased printed textbooks, either new or used, you can keep them or sell them back to the book store during buyback. We buy any book, no matter where you bought them at the beginning of the semester! Visit the ISU Book Store during finals week, and bring all your books with you.


TI - 30XA: Chemistry Test Approved

TI - 30X IIS: Chemistry Test Approved

TI - 36X PRO: Chemistry Test Approved

TI - 503 SV: General

SHARP EL - 2335B: General

TI - 1706 SV: General

TI - 84 PLUS CE: General

TI - 1795 SV: General

TI - NSPIRE: Engineering


TI BA II PLUS: Business/Economics

Note: Please verify calculator recommendations in your booklist/with your instructor prior to purchasing.


Use the "My Account" section on to keep track of your rental returns and buyback deadlines. You can also subscribe to our newsletters for deadline/due date reminders related to textbooks. Simply use the "Newsletter Sign Up" box below to get registered for email notifications.


Technology, Software & Service

TechCyte is the authorized campus store for Apple and Dell computers and provides computer models from both of these brands. We are also the on-campus vendor for laptops and 2-in-1 tablets from Microsoft and Lenovo, with additional brands like HP, Asus, Alienware and more being just a custom order away.


Education Pricing:
As the Apple Authroized Campus Store, Cyclones save between $100-$400 with education pricing on Apple computers compared to other retailers.

No Sales Tax:
Cyclones save 7% on all purchases with no Sales Tax at the ISU Book Store. That can translate to savings between $62-$251 on Apple computers - good enough to get you a pair of Apple AirPods, Apple Care+ warranty extension or additional essential accessories.

Education Pricing:
Cyclones save an extra 10-15% OFF the retail price on Dell computers with education pricing.

4 Years Accidental Damage Warranty:
Compared to a 1-year Dell warranty that other retailers provide with their Dell laptops, TechCyte provides a 4-year Dell Accidental Damage Warranty extension with all our Dell computers. This warranty includes unlimited repairs during the 4-year warranty period. Exclusions inlcude fire, theft, complete submergence, Acts of God, intensional damages, etc.

No Sales Tax:
Save an additional 7% on your Dell computers with tax-free purchases. This can translate to savings between $69-$174.

Cyclones save 7% with no sales tax at the ISU Book Store on any laptop. tablet or pc desktop that they order through TechCyte. This also includes computer components and peripherals like external monitors, graphhics card, solid state drives, printer, etc.


There are strong arguments on both sides here. Some retailers will tell you that the longer you wait, the more technology improves. TechCyte recommends buying after the spring revisions (usually early June) to allow more time to get familiar with your new computer, set up the required software and understand your accessory needs (adapters, cases, external mouse, etc. Plus, it's one more thing off your plate when classes start!


Most computers which TechCyte carries in stock will work for any major. To help narrow down your choices we provide our #MAJORSUCCESS to guide you based on your major. The most important factor of purchasing a computer is not necessarily what your major is, but how you will be using your computer. Since each student is unique, we work with each student to determine a computer that will best fit their needs. If you can't make it in to the store, give us a call during business hours or send us an email any time and we'll help figure out the best computer for your needs. You can also visit our Major Success page to learn more about your major's computer recommendation.


After completing the Core, undergraduate students admitted into a Design major, and Design graduate students are presented with the opportunity to purchase a laptop through the College of Design. This allows students to pay for a laptop on a per-semester basis. It includes the design software for your specific area of study as well as technical support and updates. Using the Laptop Program is not required, and other options are available for students who do not wish to participate in the program. Click here for more information about the College of Design Laptop Lease Program.


Windows is an Operating System. It provides the foundation on top of which all other programs run. Office is a productivity suite, a set of programs which must be installed on your computer to use. The software includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Teams, which run on top of an operating system, just like any other program on your computer. Microsoft Office is available for Windows and Apple computers, and mobile devices.


Office 365 ProPlus for Students is a free add-on for Office 365 that the University has access to as part of the Student Advantage program. Students can log in to Office 365 and download the latest version of Office for free. Office 365 will work on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices. Requires an active ISU email address.To get started, go to Our on-campus Solution Center can also provide assistance online or by phone at 515-294-4000.


Alternatives to the Microsoft Windows OS include Apple's MacOS, which is only available on Apple computers. Linux is not typically recommended for use by most students. Competitors to Microsoft Office include the built-in productivity apps on Apple devices, and OpenOffice, available for any operating system.


All of the Intel-based Macs (Apple computers released after mid-2006) are capable of running Windows. This gives you an option upon startup to choose which operating system you want to boot into. Boot Camp requires a Windows license which can be obtained from On both Intel-based Macs and the new Apple silicone-based Macs, virtualization software such as Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion allow you to run MacOS and Windows simultaneously and are both available to ISU students. Parallels is available as a 1-year license through TechCyte.


Every student will need Microsoft Office which is free for students. Some students will need specific software packages for their major, which instructors will inform you of once classes start. Much of this recommended software is available for free for students. View the IT Software for Students site for more information.


For virus protection, is recommended that you are using the most recent version of Mac OS or Windows to keep your computer secure. Both systems offer built in anti-virus and malware detection - you just need to make sure they are enabled and kept up to date.


Most students will find that a Mac runs all the software they will ever need. Microsoft Office is available for Macs, as are the Firefox and Chrome internet browsers, iTunes, and every kind of instant messaging. Some degrees in Engineering, Design, and Business require software which will only run on Windows, so be sure to check with your advisors.


Wired and wireless internet is available in all on-campus residence halls. Wireless connections are available in both common areas and student rooms. Students are strongly discouraged from setting up a wireless router or access point as it interferes with the other wireless networks in the residence halls. If you require more than two Ethernet connections in your room, it is acceptable to use a wired router. Setting it up correctly is critical to network functionality. If you are not sure how to do this, ask for help by contacting the IT Solution Center!

Wi-Fi is available across nearly all of the ISU campus, including many outdoor spaces.


Technology service and repair is available on campus through the TechCyte Service Center right here in the Iowa State University Book Store. More specifically, we are an authorized repair center (in-warranty and out-of-warranty) for Apple and Dell computers.
Click here for more information about our authorized service center.


For assistance with University specific access or programs (i.e. e-mail issues, AccessPlus, ISU Account Specific support, network connectivity issues not related to hardware) the Solution Center is available in the Parks Library.
Click here for more information about the Solution Center.