New Tool Ranks Schools by Textbook Affordability

Friday, March 29, 2013

For the first time ever, 1,500 U.S. colleges and universities have been rated by the affordability of their textbooks. Akademos, Inc., a leading provider of integrated online bookstores and marketplaces for educational institutions, has created a Textbook Affordability Index that ranks institutions according to the affordability of their course materials by subject matter and among peer schools.

The Textbook AI by college is a new feature of the Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool released last year that provides faculty key metrics to compare the quality and cost of textbooks across 3,600 subject areas. The Textbook AI not only features an overall ranking of colleges and universities according to the affordability of their textbooks, it also compares peer schools such as Ivy Leagues, popular NCAA conferences, and business, medical, nursing and law schools. Institutions that graduate students with the most debt were also ranked in comparison to one another.

“We know quality must come first in a professor’s decision to adopt a textbook,” said John Squires, Akademos CEO, “but there are many high-quality, low-cost texts as yet undiscovered by faculty. We hope these college rankings will bring greater attention to the textbook selection process. And with resources like the Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool, it’s easier for instructors to discover and evaluate new textbooks that meet their instructional standards at a lower cost to students."

The best-ranked school among 1,500 colleges measured was Essex County College, a two-year public institution with an enrollment of approximately 12,500 students in Newark, NJ.

When compared among popular peers, the following schools received top ranking for the affordability of their course materials:

  • Largest Colleges - The University of Florida
  • Largest Community Colleges - Pasadena City College
  • Ivy Leagues - Dartmouth College
  • Little Ivies - Vassar College
  • Nursing Schools - Yale University
  • Medical Schools, Primary Care - University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Law Schools - University of Chicago
  • Historically Black Colleges & Universities - Morehouse College
  • Christian Colleges - Calvin College

“Our textbook affordability rankings complement the U.S. Department of Education's College Affordability and Transparency initiative highlighted in the President’s most recent State of the Union address,” said Ingrid Ramos Nakamura, vice president of marketing for Akademos. "Several stakeholders including students, parents, colleges and organizations serving them agree there is a critical need to bring clarity to measuring college affordability. Schools and their faculty want resources that can help them make better decisions about the textbooks they adopt so that they can deliver on the value of higher education."

The Textbook Affordability Index by college is a feature within the Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool that ranks schools by the affordability of their course materials. Institutions with enough data on their courses and corresponding textbooks were ranked according to a propriety algorithm that weighs affordability on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 representing the most affordable materials. Scores take into account median prices and purchase patterns of new, used, rental and digital course materials, and the scores are used to rank schools in order of the affordability of their adopted texts. It is the only adoption tool that includes texts from commercial publishers and well as Open Educational Resource providers. Faculty can search, discover, compare and adopt textbooks and ancillary materials, as well as sort by affordability, number of adoptions, and instructor ratings. The tool also collects instructor reviews and helps schools maintain HEOA compliance.

To see the complete list of best-rated institutions for textbook affordability, including peer group comparisons, visit the Textbook AI by college page  of the Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool.

Akademos believes every student should have access to high quality, low-cost textbooks. To learn more about our online bookstore service offerings for educational institutions, visit the Akademos website http://www.akademos.com/ or sign up for the Akademos newsletter http://www.akademos.com/newsletter/.

About Akademos

Akademos offers virtual bookstore services, eLearning solutions, and an innovative textbook marketplace to schools. Its comprehensive supply-chain solution and commitment to responsive personal service make Akademos a leader in providing affordable textbooks and digital learning tools for schools. Students can choose from new, used, rental, and eBook options while schools can reduce costs and increase operating efficiency. Faculty can search, discover and adopt new texts using the Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool at http://www.adoption.akademos.com. Akademos delivers the right course materials, at affordable prices, on time. Learn more about Akademos' direct-to-students ecommerce platform at http://www.textbookx.com and its offerings to partner schools at http://www.akademos.com.