Equitable Access Growth Predictions

By Michael Moore | August 8, 2023

Equitable Access Growth Predictions

The one constant in course materials over the last ten years: change. This is a refreshing thought given the stagnation of course materials over the first 140 years of the college bookstore/course materials landscape. Two of the most revolutionary changes have been the introduction of Inclusive and Equitable Access. At end of November 2022, I posted an article about the growth of Equitable Access from before AY19-20 through AY22-23. This was a great opportunity to understand how Equitable Access had quickly risen since 2020. The rapid adoption of Equitable Access has the potential to change course materials and higher education. In this blog, I am sharing my Equitable Access growth predictions.

Looking Back

In my last article on Equitable Access growth, I shared that I collaborated with stakeholders at, what I consider, the 5 of the top 6 bookstore management vendors to get their Equitable Access store counts. Originally, I had identified 245 Equitable Access accounts for AY22-23. Since then, I was able to get the 6th bookstore management vendor to share their store counts and I got a better picture of the independently managed bookstore market. This new information changes my AY22-23 account number from 245 to 264. I feel that adding the 6th bookstore vendor and the independent market gives us a better look at how Equitable Access might grow. Lastly, I have changed my reporting from Academic Year (AY) to Fiscal Year (FY). Given that most institutions have Fiscal Years running from July 1st through the following June 30th, it felt like this change is more in line with potential Equitable Access adoption reporting timelines.

Equitable Access Growth Predictions

As we head into the Fall 2023 semester, Equitable Access is continuing its rapid growth. In the graph below, the red line denotes where we are today and to the right of the red line is where I predict Equitable Access to grow over the next few years. By the end of Spring 2024 (FY24) there will be at least 355 Equitable Access programs. If vendor Equitable Access growth trends continue, I expect there to be at least 845 Equitable Access programs across higher education. That gives Equitable Access programs a growth rate of 1,124% since FY20. Based on my research, Equitable Access had a growth rate of 414% from FY20 to FY24 (current) and will continue at a growth rate of 138% from FY24 (current) to FY28. I believe my calculations and expected growth for FY27 and FY28 might be a little conservative. It is possible there could be more than my predicted 845 Equitable Access programs by FY28.

Equitable Access Market

Knowing and understanding how far Equitable Access has come in such a short time is valuable information. If your institution is considering or exploring Equitable Access, it’s reasonable for you to wonder how prevalent this course materials intervention model is across higher education. So, to do that, I want to put the adoption of Equitable Access across higher education into context. According to IPEDS data, there are roughly 3,620 postsecondary degree-granting institutions in the United States. So, if we take the 355 Equitable Access programs for FY24 and divide it by the 3,620 postsecondary degree-granting institutions, that means that roughly 10% of all postsecondary degree-granting institutions are using Equitable Access in FY24. Looking towards FY28, the 845 projected Equitable Access programs would represent over 23% of all postsecondary degree-granting institutions having adopted Equitable Access.

Wrap Up

There are a lot of numbers to digest here. There are plenty of interpretations to be made. What I love most about this work and being able to put this together is letting practitioners, stakeholders, and observers make their own assessments of the information. I think the biggest takeaway from this work is that Equitable Access is not a fad. It is not a trivial movement. Equitable Access has staying power. It will, over the next five, alter the course materials/college bookstore landscape unlike anything we have ever seen or experienced. As always, thanks for checking in and I’ll see you next time.