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Cengage Unlimited: Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: this post has been replaced with up-to-date information on our Cengage Unlimited Instructors FAQ.

Click here to access this FAQ page.



You have questions. We have answers. Use the SEARCH BAR at the top of the page to search this forum by keyword or browse the questions below. - The Cengage Unlimited Team ( 


Still have questions about Cengage Unlimited? Reply to this post with your question or message @michael_britt, Community Manager. 




What is Cengage Unlimited?

Cengage Unlimited is the first-of-its-kind digital subscription that gives students total and on-demand access to all the digital learning platforms, ebooks, online homework and study tools Cengage has to offer—in one place. It’s unlimited all-you-can-learn access to a library of more than 20,000 products for $119.99 per semester, no matter how many Cengage materials you use.


Is Cengage Unlimited a new product?

No, Cengage Unlimited is the name for our subscription service, which provides access to all of our products.


Who is the intended customer for Cengage Unlimited?

Cengage Unlimited will be offered in our U.S. Higher Ed and Career channels. For now, it will not be offered in our professional, ed2go, K-12, Gale, Milady or International markets. We will evaluate adding other market segments on an ongoing basis.


Is Cengage Unlimited available for students at all U.S. higher-ed institutions (e.g., community colleges, four-year institutions, AND career and trade schools)?



What are the basic mechanics of the Cengage Unlimited offering?

At the outset, here are the core elements of the Cengage Unlimited offering:

  • Students will be able to sign up for Cengage Unlimited and pay only $119.99 for a 4- month semester subscription; $179.99 for a 12-month annual subscription; and $239.99 for a two-year 24-month subscription. No matter how many Cengage products they use during the subscription period, the price remains the same!
  • Students can explore the Cengage library of more than 20,000 course materials— courseware, ebooks, online homework and study tools—across more than 70 disciplines and 675 courses.
  • They can access digital learning platforms, ebooks, online homework and study tools, and browse from thousands of digital titles to help with research, or just learn something new.
  • Students who are using one of our digital learning platforms can get a print rental for $7.99 + free shipping with every activated course.
  • When their subscription to Cengage Unlimited ends, their access doesn’t. Students can maintain access to their course materials (up to six ebooks) through a virtual locker. For our Fall 2018 introductory offer, students can maintain access to their virtual locker for free for 12 months after the end of a subscription. 

What specific products are included in a Cengage Unlimited subscription?

At launch in August 2018, a subscription to Cengage Unlimited includes total access to our comprehensive library of digital content: nearly 20,000 products across 70 disciplines and 675 course areas in the following formats:

  • Ebook versions of textbooks and supplements (e.g., study guides available as ebooks)
  • Courseware with a course key: MindTap, MindTap ACE, WebAssign, WebAssign+OpenStax, SAM, CNOW, iLrn, Aplia, MindTap Math Foundations, OWLv2, 4LTR Online
  • Other digital standalone products we offer (e.g., Diet Analysis Plus, Coursemate, College Success Factors Index)
  • Custom print products, which we will be available as ebooks
  • Relevant custom digital products

We will continuously add new materials and resources to help students succeed.


Is it truly “unlimited” access? Are there any exclusions?

Cengage Unlimited includes all of our digital higher ed products except for a very limited set of third party content which we cannot include.


Will we be expanding Cengage Unlimited to include additional resources in the future?

Yes. Over time, we intend to add more resources to the subscription service to further support students’ learning.


Why is Cengage offering a subscription model?

Cengage is a student-centered education and technology company. We know that high costs are the greatest limitations for students to access and benefit from higher education.


College prices keep rising even as household income declines, and more than 70% of students graduate with student loan debt. And then once students get to campus, they must buy course materials for each of their classes. The average student spends more than $500 a year on course materials.


Today, too many students must choose between the course materials they can afford and the results they want. Students are not able to access our best-in-class digital materials. Driven by high costs, they resort to sharing books, buying old or counterfeit materials or, worse yet, nothing at all. And for too long, the traditional way of delivering course materials has been part of the problem. Designed specifically to lower student costs and improve access, Cengage Unlimited will remove barriers between students, instructors and the resources they all need to be unstoppable. And it will accelerate our transition to a sustainable digital business model, centered on high-volume use of affordable and highly accessible, highly engaging and highly-effective learning resources.


Cengage Unlimited is a radically simple idea that revolutionizes an outdated textbook industry.

Is Cengage Unlimited only for digital products or are print texts also available?

Digital only with this exception: Students using courseware will have access to a print rental for $7.99 as part of their subscription. Shipping is free.


What if students don’t want to subscribe? Will they still be able to purchase products individually?

Yes. Students can continue to purchase products individually and in bundles.


How do students subscribe to Cengage Unlimited?

Beginning in August 2018, students can subscribe to Cengage Unlimited at Cengage also plans to work with its partners at on-campus and off-campus bookstores, and online retailers, to make subscriptions available for students. 


How much does Cengage Unlimited cost?

A Cengage Unlimited subscription is $119.99 per semester no matter how many products a student uses. 


Are longer subscription terms available?

Yes. Annual subscriptions (12 months) are available for $179.99 and two-year subscriptions (24 months) are available for $239.99. 


Does a full-year subscription include the summer?

Yes. A year-long subscription is inclusive of 12 months. 


Do students pay monthly for Cengage Unlimited, or upfront?

A Cengage Unlimited subscription is a one-time payment at the time of purchase. 


Can access to Cengage Unlimited be shared?

No. Cengage Unlimited subscriptions are intended for personal use, during the term(s) for which students purchased a subscription. We will limit students to two concurrent logins at a time. This will limit the amount of sharing among students. For courseware, each student’s registration is unique, so it is not possible to share.


What if students would rather use a print textbook instead of a digital product?

Students who activate the digital courseware (e.g., MindTap, WebAssign, etc.) can purchase a print rental for $7.99, including free shipping for delivery and return of the rental. If a student with a Cengage Unlimited subscription does not activate any courseware and wants to use a print textbook in addition to their ebooks, they can rent or buy a book on, their bookstore, Amazon, etc. 


What if a student bought an access code/bundle and wants to upgrade to Cengage Unlimited instead?

If a student already bought an access code or bundle, we will honor the value of the digital standalone product and offer to upgrade them to Cengage Unlimited for the difference in price. Students will have the option to upgrade directly in their Cengage Student Dashboard. 


Can students upgrade to a longer subscription term once they sign up for Cengage Unlimited?

After the standard (two-week) temporary access period ends, students must subscribe to their desired duration in Cengage Unlimited. Once they do so, it will not be possible to change the subscription length until the end of the subscription is near, at which point they will be able to renew their subscription and/or opt for a different future subscription duration.


What happens after their subscription ends? How many course materials can students retain access to following the end of their subscription?

When their subscription ends, students can renew their subscription. If they do not, they can still access course materials (e.g. the digital course created by their instructor; e.g. MindTap, WebAssign, etc.)


For subscriptions purchased during a year one promotional period (specific dates to be finalized), students can maintain access to their course materials (up to six ebooks) for free anytime they want for 12 months following the end of their subscription. For subscriptions purchased after the promotional period, students will pay a nominal fee to maintain access to course materials.


Can students keep the print rental after their subscription ends?

No. Students will need to return the print rental when their subscription ends. Return shipping is free. But they can maintain access to their course materials (up to six ebooks). For subscriptions purchased during a year one promotional period (specific dates to be finalized), students can maintain access to course materials for free for up to 12 months.


What happens with rentals when subscriptions end? How do the end dates for subscription and rental work?

Print rental due date is the same date as the subscription end date. A subscription renewal does NOT extend the print rental end date. Students that need longer with their rental will have the option to extend. Short term extensions and long-term extensions will be consistent with the current print rental price offered on Loose leaf versions will also remain available for purchase just like they are available today.


What is the grace period plan for Cengage Unlimited customers using digital courseware (e.g. MindTap)?

Two weeks, with no refunds after that time (including if course(s) are dropped). Students who use Cengage Unlimited for a course where their instructor has set up their course with Cengage will by default have temporary access to Cengage Unlimited.


Temporary access will be offered for up to two weeks from the start date of the course as set up by their instructor. Students entering via CengageBrain/ will not be offered temporary access or free trial at this time. We may explore free trial options through CengageBrain/ in the future. 


Can students access their subscriptions on multiple devices, including mobile devices?

Yes. We are trying to give students the same experience as in current courses. Students can access their subscription on two devices at any time, such as a laptop and iPad/iPhone/Android.


Where will Cengage Unlimited be hosted?

Cengage will continue to host and support the infrastructure associated with all of its products. 


How does Cengage Unlimited work with LMS integration?

For LMS integrated courses, Cengage Unlimited will be embedded in the purchase pathway through the LMS Gateway. 


Can students use financial aid to pay for their subscription?

Yes. Students can use financial aid to pay for their subscription, just as they would if purchasing course materials individually from the bookstore or online. 


What happens when a student drops a course and they’ve already purchased Cengage Unlimited? Is there a refund?

Students using the digital platforms will have temporary access for the first two weeks of their course, which is the standard trial period for individual purchases. There will be no refund after the two-week trial access ends.


Can students use Cengage Unlimited even if their instructors don’t choose Cengage materials for their course(s)?

Yes. There are more than 20,000 products available with a Cengage Unlimited subscription. Students can access study guides that align to the most popular higher-education courses, even if their professor assigns another company’s materials. And there are thousands of ebooks to help students with research or if they want to learn something new on their own. 


Can students copy content and print documents/sections of the ebooks with Cengage Unlimited?

Students will be able to print 10 pages of their ebook at a time with their Cengage Unlimited subscription. Copy/paste is restricted to 10% of an ebook. 


Will students continue to have access to note-taking and study guide features in Cengage Unlimited?

Yes. For ebooks available in courseware, note-taking and study guide features are available as always. Stand-alone ebooks also come with note-taking features. 


Will custom print and custom digital be available in Cengage Unlimited?

Yes. Custom print products will be included as ebooks in Cengage Unlimited. Custom Digital will also be included. More details on custom arrangements and Cengage Unlimited will be announced in early 2018.