Equitable Access Growth AY22-23

By Michael Moore | November 30, 2022
Equitable Access growth

Equitable Access Growth AY22-23

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to speak at several conferences and webinars about my research on course materials interventions. During that time, the growth of Equitable Access has been front and center. There appears to be a lot of momentum towards the use of Equitable Access course materials models. However, the challenge is understanding what the growth of Equitable Access really looks like. Whether you work for an institution or work in the course materials field, its hard to know what you don’t know. To that end, I have been working to gain a better understanding of what Equitable Access growth looks like in higher education and I want to share it with you.


As an academic researcher investigating course materials interventions, I engage with a variety of course materials stakeholders. That includes campus leaders, bookstore lease operators, publishers, and industry observers. I have leveraged my relationships with these stakeholders to understand how Equitable Access has altered the course materials landscape. This article is dedicated to sharing how Equitable Access course materials models have grown since 2019. I have compiled the number of Equitable Access programs from, what I consider, five of the top six campus bookstore lease operators from 2019 through the Fall 2022 semester. Most of this information is not available to the public. That means this is the first time many have seen this information centralized in one place. No one has compiled a list of Equitable Access course materials programs at independently managed stores yet. That is an article for another day.

Growth Parameters

Inclusive Access course materials models have been in use since roughly 2014. We can debate when or where Inclusive Access started in earnest, but I am confident in saying that Inclusive Access adoption has been steadily rising since around 2014. Anecdotally, we know the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of IA/EA programs because of remote learning and closed campuses. Therefore, I have chosen the 2018-2019 Academic Year as a starting point to examine the growth of Equitable Access. In my reporting on Equitable Access growth, I labeled the starting point as “Prior to 2019” and ended with the Fall 2022 semester.

Growth Data

Based on the bookstore lease operators I surveyed, Equitable Access adoption has an annual growth rate of 105.32% over the last four years. Prior to 2019-2020, a total of 47 campus bookstores were using an Equitable Access course materials model. As of the Fall 2022 term, a total of 245 campus bookstores were using an Equitable Access course materials model (see graph below).

Equitable Access Growth

There was a total of 59 Equitable Access programs in Academic Year (AY) 2019-2020 and jumped to 104 for Academic Year 2020-2021 or a 76.27% increase. Equitable Access programs among the bookstore lease operators I surveyed grew 74% between AY 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. In AY20-21 there were 104 Equitable Access programs and by the end of AY21-22 there were 181 Equitable Access programs. At the time of my survey, I only asked bookstore lease operators for their FA22 numbers because they had not solidified their SP23 Equitable Access account totals. Having only half of the AY22-23 data blunts the impact of the increase in adoption of Equitable Access for AY22-23, but it does provide evidence that Equitable Access growth is accelerating not abating.

Wrap Up

To keep things in perspective there are just under 4,000 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. Moreover, my reporting on the growth of Equitable Access is only from five of the six leading bookstore lease operators. That means that this sample reflects roughly 6% of the total degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. Again, at this time, I have not compiled a list of independently managed bookstore Equitable Access programs like UC Davis, Cornell University, or for-profit institutions.

I have said numerous times on the record that I believe that Equitable Access is likely to be the dominate course materials model within the next decade. While this reporting doesn’t necessarily support or contradict my position, what the limited scope of this investigation tells us is that Equitable Access is quickly on the rise. My hope is to update this report as I receive more information over the next few months. As always, thanks for checking in and I’ll see you next time.