The Edge: Putting ‘Digital Equity’ Into the Equation on EdTech Deals

The Edge logo for The Chronical of Higher Education

By Goldie Blumenstyk for The Chronicle of Higher Education

From Ed Smith-Lewis, vice president for strategic initiatives and institutional partnerships at UNCF: Vendors need to understand both the special needs of minority-serving institutions and their assets. On the one hand, he said, some of those institutions haven’t been able to invest as much in tech as wealthier institutions and are staffed by professors and administrators “who are not digital natives trying to deliver high-quality digital education to a group of students who expect it.” But at the same time, he noted, companies could learn a lot if they were willing to work more closely with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and similar institutions on things like discounted products, pilot projects, or even revenue-sharing arrangements if experiments proved fruitful. “There’s enough profit in this space,” Smith-Lewis said, “and there’s enough opportunity yet to be realized.”