Textbook Management

Universities Move to Flat-Rate Textbooks

Course materials management company Rafter today announced new agreements with several colleges and universities to deploy Rafter360, technology that provides both print and digital textbooks through a flat-rate model.

Students at Mars Hill University (NC), Green Mountain College (VT), the Institute of American Indian Arts (NM), Illinois College and Bethany College (KS) will now receive all course materials by the first day of class, for a reduced fee that is incorporated into their tuition. Rafter's pricing is expected to save students more than 50 percent compared to traditional textbooks. And when students have access to all their course materials up front, their chances of success improve, according to the company.

Several of the institutions adopting the technology cited increased retention as a goal:

"My office tracks retention, withdrawals, and helps to support students who are struggling academically. The problem was clear that many students didn't have the books and it directly influenced their learning. We needed a way to get books in the hands of students and it had to provide flexibility for the faculty, and be relatively simple. Rafter360 was the solution that could provide us with what we needed," said Liz Tobin, provost at Illinois College, in a statement.

"Our students were leaving for financial reasons and when we dug deeper, we found it wasn't always housing or tuition that caused them to separate from the college. Many times, we found that our students didn't have their books, were falling behind and were finding themselves unable to continue," commented Larry Mirabal, CFO at the Institute of American Indian Arts. "We had to do something and Rafter had exactly the solution we were looking for: to partner with the Institute and the bookstore to guarantee books would be in students' hands on day one."

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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