SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 29, 2012) - Rafter, Inc., the leader in course materials management software, today announced that in Fall 2012, schools on the Rafter™ Platform saved their students more than $12 million in cash and financial aid. The mass adoption fueled Rafter's annual on-campus revenue growth by more than 1,400 percent and contributed to the more than $240 million that the company has saved students and schools in cash and financial aid since 2008. The adoption of Rafter by more than 300 schools nationwide highlights the company's momentum in solving the longstanding, systemic issues surrounding the high cost of course materials on campus.
Rafter provides schools with a cloud-based software platform that transforms how they manage, distribute, and control the cost and complexity of educational content. Schools that use Rafter are not only lowering the cost of course materials -- the second highest cost behind tuition -- but also reversing the industry-wide trend of shrinking market share for college stores, whose revenues often contribute to supporting the college community.
Colleges are struggling to maintain the affordability and accessibility of education in the face of increased operating costs and falling government funding. As a result, many postsecondary institutions pass significant costs onto students, with the average cost of a college degree in the United States increasing by 1,120 percent in 30 years. As students debt tops $1 trillion, the percentage of students defaulting on their federal student loans continues to rise and a recent study shows that by 2018, the United States is likely to fall three million graduates short of market demands. At the same time, colleges are struggling to serve their students as they lose market share to online retailers who serve students more cost-effectively.
"Even in the face of decreasing government funding, reduced financial aid, and rising costs, schools need to make education more affordable and accessible for their students. Until Rafter, they have not had a solution to the underlying problems plaguing the course materials ecosystem," said Mehdi Maghsoodnia, CEO of Rafter. "Rafter changes the game by dramatically improving a school's ability to offer affordable access to vital educational resources. We're not only increasing their students' chances of success in higher education, but also the quality of service they provide."
Eighty-four new institutions chose Rafter to help manage their course materials in Fall 2012. In fact, both the NC State Bookstore and the bookstore at Modesto Junior College saw their first seasons of positive growth in three academic years after implementing the Rafter Platform. During this past fall peak, Rafter-powered bookstores at Eastern Washington University and Chaffey College grew their in-store textbook rental program by 459 percent and 204 percent, respectively, indicating strong student preference to support their campus stores and shop locally.
"With our rental program, largely powered by Rafter, we've seen our market share increase 57 percent since 2009 while the average retail price of our textbooks has dropped from $100 to $67," said Jared Ceja, director of Auxiliary Services at Chaffey College. "This has helped us save our students over a million dollars, which in turn helps them be more successful in their educational pursuits. Rafter's platform gives us the pricing and selection we need, helping us serve our students with the best in-store and online rental options possible. As a result we saw more foot traffic in the store than ever before, and with that a dramatic increase in revenue in 'Panther Gear' and supplies, as well as food and beverage. It's a win-win and our students love it."
During the back-to-school season, many Rafter customers not only offered their students the best prices on their textbooks, but also improved their level of service by using Rafter RapidCheckout™ for Mobile. Rafter's mobile checkout offering launched in July and is based on the same commerce technology used in Apple® (AAPL) Retail Stores. The technology helps store managers reduce the long lines at peak periods, which can deter students from shopping in the bookstore at the start of the new school year. Twenty-two of Rafter's customers adopted the RapidCheckout feature in the Fall, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their students.
Rafter provides a cloud-based platform to help colleges and universities make educational content more affordable, effective, and accessible. The company is revolutionizing the way students and schools find, source, and control course materials -- the second largest educational cost behind tuition -- with more than 300 colleges and universities already running on Rafter and saving students more than $240 million in cash and financial aid. By delivering superior service to students and educators, schools on Rafter are increasing graduation rates, differentiating their offerings, and elevating their overall quality of education. Rafter also operates BookRenter.com, a destination site for students to rent textbooks at up to 80 percent off the retail price. Rafter is a venture-backed, privately held company headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. To learn more, visit www.rafter.com.