SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 4, 2016) - Rafter, a leading course materials management company, has announced the collaborative implementation of Rafter360, the company's all-inclusive course materials solution which improves college affordability and access, at Avila University.
Avila University, founded in 1916, is a private, not-for-profit Catholic institution providing undergraduate and graduate education to prepare students for responsible lifelong contributions to the global community. Located in Kansas City, Mo., Avila University has a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and of full-time faculty, 77 percent have the highest degree in their field.
When Paul Toler joined Avila in 2015 as the Vice President of Finance, he quickly noticed a critical issue on campus -- the institutional campus bookstore model was not working. To assess marketplace options to explore and find the best solution for their campus, Toler formed a campus-wide task force of faculty and staff, and invited Cathryn Pridal, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, to join. From the beginning, the focus of the task force went beyond finding the most financially viable model for managing course materials, and was focused on how textbooks were part of the formula for improving student success. The bookstore's situation reflected that students were not purchasing their required course materials and were coming to class unprepared to learn, causing them to quickly fall behind. It's not only Avila administrators to whom this issue was apparent: a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 93 percent of faculty agree that students with their materials receive higher grades, and 94 percent of students worry that not purchasing required materials will hurt their grade in class.
"Avila's approach to education is to bring out the best in our students, so they can bring out the best in others. If students don't have their books at the start of the semester, they are at a major disadvantage and are seriously challenged to reach their full academic potential. Once we started to realize the full impact of students not having their required materials, we knew we needed to make major changes to ensure we were giving all students the best opportunity to succeed from the beginning," said Pridal.
As a practitioner of a Change Management style of leadership, Toler was ready to lead his task force to make more than small changes to prepare students for success. After a thorough review of all of the available models in the marketplace, including a Virtual Bookstore or leased solution, they chose to implement Rafter360, beginning in the Fall 2016 Semester.
"One of the primary factors for choosing Rafter360 as our course materials management solution was that we could truly see that Rafter was going to be our partner in making this important change on our campus," said Toler. "Rafter360 gave us the freedom to select both on-campus pickup and direct-to-student distribution, enabling us to put books in the hands of all students. We're looking forward to seeing the improvements we anticipate in the results."
Rafter360 enables colleges and universities to provide students with 100 percent of required course materials at a significantly discounted flat-rate access fee that is included in the student bill, resulting in improved college affordability. To date, nearly 3 million students and hundreds of schools have used Rafter's technology to save nearly $1 billion on textbooks, facilitate student preparedness, and help schools improve overall student success.
"Schools are reporting that they now see a direct impact on a student's academic performance, based on whether or not they have all of their required course materials," said Sara Leoni, CEO of Rafter. "We are on a mission to make sure all students start from a level playing field, while also reducing the cost of textbooks for students. Ensuring that all students are prepared with their educational content by the start of class is the first step to helping them thrive at school."
To learn more about Rafter360, visit http://www.rafter.com/rafter360/.
Rafter is a technology company on a mission to improve student success by making higher education more affordable, accessible, and effective for all. To date, hundreds of schools and nearly 3 million students have used Rafter's technology to save nearly $1 billion on textbooks and other educational resources. The company's solution, Rafter360, is transforming how schools discover, manage, and distribute educational content to students. This proven solution enables schools to prepare students with 100% of their course materials by the start of classes, ensures full academic freedom, and improves classroom access and college affordability. Based in San Mateo, California, Rafter was founded in 2006. For more information please visit www.rafter.com.