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ECC Launches Online Bookstore

Edgecombe Community College has launched an online bookstore to enhance the student experience and improve affordability.

Through a partnership with Norwalk, Conn.-based online bookstore platform, Akademos, the college now offers all required textbooks and course materials through an online bookstore and plans to rebrand the Campus Store to support the community in new ways.

“Providing easy access to course materials, and offering more affordable options to our diverse body of students as well as the ability to integrate and utilize financial aid funds, is a top priority for us,” says Debbie Batten, vice president of finance and administrative services at ECC.

ECC offers educational pathways to a competitive workforce for the community and global economy to approximately 5,500 students annually, in-person at two campuses, Tarboro and Rocky Mount, or through online course offerings. Students can earn a two-year degree, diploma, or certificate, or complete continuing education courses.

Rising textbook prices 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 an estimated $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.

The online store launched on August 9 to support the fall term. With the integration of Akademos’ platform, ECC faculty and administrators will benefit from a suite of analytics and tools designed to better track student engagement and then use data to support student success.

Through an integration with the college’s financial aid system, students will be able to use their financial aid funds each semester to purchase materials and ensure preparedness on the first day of class. Additionally, ECC will continue to have a physical presence on campus selling spirit apparel, supplies, and general merchandise through their rebranded stores across both campuses.

“Students are experiencing increased financial hardship and strain as a result of the pandemic, particularly those who are balancing family and work responsibilities beyond the classroom. Too often they are forced to decide between academic materials and the essentials they need to learn, work, and thrive as students,” explains Raj Kaji, CEO of Akademos.

“Moving to an online experience for course materials can help curb rising costs and increase affordability and access for learners.”