SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 7, 2015) - Bethany College today announced it has partnered with Rafter, the leading course materials management company, to launch its trailblazing textbooks-in-tuition program Rafter360™ for Fall 2015.

Bethany College, a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), can be found in Lindsborg, Kan. With their small student population (less than 700 students) and low student to faculty ratio (13:1), any delay in student preparedness is deeply felt on Bethany's campus.

A trend of students not getting their textbooks in time for class or opting out of purchasing books altogether was developing on Bethany's campus. At the same time, it was losing money running an on-campus bookstore. Bethany first tried replacing the on-campus bookstore with a virtual bookstore, which had the added benefit of removing them from the textbook management business. However, some students finalized their schedules at the last minute, so their books still arrived several weeks after classes began. It became clear that the virtual bookstore model produced the same results as their former physical store.

"We found that the virtual bookstore wasn't as clean of a solution as we had hoped, and in the second year, we had many of the same issues," said Robert Carlson, Provost at Bethany College.

When evaluating alternatives to the virtual bookstore model, an important requirement was that the solution must be able to work without a physical bookstore as Bethany no longer had one. Bethany selected Rafter because of Rafter360's unique flexibility of distribution that can be implemented through what is essentially a textbook pickup station, with no storefront required. Moreover, the textbooks-in-tuition program provides 100 percent of required course materials to students before the first day of class, folding the cost, which is up to 50 percent off list price, into students' tuition, making it eligible to be paid for using financial aid.

"Our faculty are happy that they can begin teaching on the first day of class because students have their books," said Linda Ball, Administrative Assistant to the Provost at Bethany University. "I've also heard overwhelmingly from students that it was such a huge relief to get their books when they came to campus and not have to worry."

Bethany hopes to see improvements in retention and recruiting efforts since implementing the program and will share results in those areas when available.

"So many schools have tried hard over the years to provide their campuses with a long-term, sustainable solution for both managing course materials and providing affordability to students. When we learned that Bethany College was struggling to meet this challenge, it was obvious that Rafter360 was the best solution for them," said Sara Leoni, CEO of Rafter. "We're so glad they had a smooth implementation that has been well-received by so many stakeholders on their campus. That speaks volumes."

To learn more about Rafter360 or to register for an upcoming webinar, visit

About Rafter
Rafter is an established course materials management company. Hundreds of campuses and over 2.7 million students have used Rafter's technology to save nearly $700 million on textbooks. The company's mission is to help students save money and be prepared for success in the classroom. Building on its course materials experience and long-term relationships with hundreds of colleges and suppliers, Rafter is redesigning and transforming the entire process of course materials management with its Rafter360™ solution. Based in San Mateo, California, Rafter was founded in 2006. More information about Rafter360 can be found at

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Jessica Cheney
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