Course Materials

Bluefield College Moves to Flat Fee for Textbooks

Students at Bluefield College in Virginia now pay a flat, discounted fee to receive all of their required textbooks before their classes start. The institution has implemented Rafter360, a course materials management solution from Rafter that supplies print or digital textbooks for an access fee that is rolled into students' total tuition cost. Students can receive their course materials via direct shipment or pick them up on campus.

Before Rafter360, Bluefield relied on a virtual bookstore to meet students' textbook needs. Yet despite the bookstore's competitive pricing, many students struggled with the unpredictable cost of their books. "Students would come to class without their required materials and, unprepared to learn, would quickly fall behind in their studies," according to a press release.

"A high number of our students are first-generation or low income," said David Olive, president of Bluefield College, in a statement. "Often, these students have very limited budgets for college tuition and fees and are surprised by unbudgeted expenses such as course materials, which they are unable to afford."

The Rafter360 rollout included an adoption and benchmarking audit, which gave Bluefield administrators better visibility into — and control over — overall textbook costs. "We want to give all of our students every opportunity to succeed," said Olive. "Rafter360 has given us the transparency and control to now see how content is affecting our overall textbook costs, while still allowing us to maintain academic freedom for faculty. We are now providing our students with an affordable, predictable solution, while delivering 100 percent of their required materials by the first day of class."

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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