ASU+GSV Summit 2022: Raj Kaji on making college costs more affordable

Thought leaders share ideas with WorkingNation Overheard at the ASU+GSV Summit 2022

Making learning materials available digitally to college students is an equity issue, according to Raj Kaji, CEO, Akademos – which works with higher ed institutions to lower textbook costs.

WorkingNation sat down with Kaji at the ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego.

Kaji says accessing learning materials is an equity issue. “Even before the pandemic, 65% of students indicated they weren’t buying all their textbooks because of socioeconomic reasons. Even before the pandemic, 43% of students indicated they had to make a choice between buying a book and putting food on the table. And 90% of students indicate that not having the materials disadvantaged their learning.”

“We have anecdotal data that suggests that if a student has materials the first day of class, they’ll actually pass the class at a 3% to 5% higher rate, which really suggests that this actually is a meaningful lever point relative to success, not just for the student, but for the institution,” says Kaji.

He says even textbook publishers acknowledge that affordability is an important issue to address, noting, they realize the need to “create a better mousetrap because the number and volume of low-cost or free materials is expanding rapidly.”

Learn more about Akademos.