North Central University launches online bookstore to tackle rising textbook costs and equip faculty with course-level analytics on student engagement
Minneapolis, MN /PRNewswire/ - North Central University, the private, non-profit Christian university in Minneapolis affiliated with the Assemblies of God church and named #13 in U.S. News & World Report's list of Top Performers on Social Mobility, today announced the launch of a new initiative designed to dramatically reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of course content for its 1,100 students. Through a partnership with Norwalk, Conn.-based digital course content platform Akademos, the university will now offer all required texts and course materials through an online bookstore, and faculty will benefit from the launch of new content analytics tools.
"In today's uncertain economy, so many of our students are facing added financial demands that can create barriers to college access and completion. This initiative is about making academic content more accessible, across a variety of formats, to reduce the overall cost of attendance," said Dr. Brian Stewart, North Central University spokesperson. "Increasing the affordability of textbooks and course content represents an essential part of our strategy for reducing costs and remaining a pathway for social mobility for thousands of current students and prospective students to come."
Rising textbook costs continue to be a major cost driver for the overall cost of a college education. Nationally, textbook prices have continued to outstrip the cost of most other consumer goods, adjusted for inflation. According to research compiled by the College Board, the average student spends approximately $1,240. A survey of more than 22,000 college students also found that the cost of required textbooks had a negative impact on student success, such as earning a poor grade, failing a course, and not registering for a course.
To reduce their overall out-of-pocket costs from purchasing textbooks, the university's new school-branded online bookstore platform will offer students a competitive marketplace for course content purchasing. In partnership with Akademos, North Central University will expand access to a wide range of low-cost course materials, including digital and hard copy versions of required texts.
The store will launch this summer to support fall term 2021. In parallel with the launch of the new online store, NCU will continue to operate an on-campus store for merchandise and apparel that offers a unique experiential learning program for students who work in the store. NCU will work simultaneously to drive student awareness of its on-campus merchandise store, using Akademos' suite of digital communications channels to cross-promote the campus store.
With the integration of Akademos' course content platform, faculty and administrators at NCU will benefit from a suite of analytics and tools designed to better track student engagement with course-level content and use data to support student success.
Through a new integration with the university's student accounts and financial aid system, students will now be able to charge a set amount on their account each semester to ensure preparedness on the first day of class.
"With the high price of college textbooks continuing to inflate the overall cost of the degree, the digital transformation of course content remains one of the most powerful levers available to institutions to increase access and affordability," said Raj Kaji, CEO of Akademos. "This initiative will support student success on multiple fronts because it extends far beyond just offering content and resources in a digital format. It's about empowering faculty and administrators with digital resources of their own to better understand, track and support student engagement."
About North Central University
North Central University (NCU) is a Christ-centered, Bible-based university that prepares students to fulfill biblical models of leadership and ministry throughout the world. Founded in 1930 and affiliated with the Assemblies of God fellowship, NCU offers academically rigorous programs, including 60+ areas of undergraduate degrees and two graduate degrees. In-person undergraduate programs are offered at our downtown Minneapolis campus, providing abundant opportunities for jobs and internships with companies right in our "backyard." Online undergraduate and graduate degrees are available to students directly and through academic partner sites throughout the world, including Jakes Divinity School in Dallas, Texas. North Central incorporates a Spirit-empowered, biblical perspective into the entire curriculum, and the student experience is infused with opportunities to grow spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. For more information, visit northcentral.edu or follow us on Facebook (/northcentraluniversity), LinkedIn (North Central University), Twitter (@northcentral_mn), Instagram (@northcentral_mn), and YouTube (/northcentraluniversitympls)
Akademos provides higher education institutions with a full-service online platform to manage course materials, from monitoring adoptions and compliance to purchasing textbooks to measuring utilization. More than just an online bookstore, we give school administrators a single platform to streamline course adoptions and meet compliance regulations. For students, the platform simplifies the purchasing and access of materials through a personalized portal that connects with school SIS, LMS, and payment systems. Akademos gives colleges and universities a more transparent, convenient, and cost-effective solution to manage how course materials are used and measured, helping to improve textbook affordability and student success. Learn more at www.akademos.com.