STAY IN SCHOOL
Democrats in both chambers of Congress on Wednesday sent a letter to leadership urging them to include funding to ensure college students can access the internet during the coronavirus pandemic in future relief packages.
“Even before the pandemic, only 66 percent of black households, 61 percent of Hispanic households, and 63 percent of rural households had access to broadband, and one survey found that about 20 percent of college students did not have consistent access to technology, such as laptops and tablets,” the 18 lawmakers wrote.
“Another survey found that 30 percent of students experienced difficulty connecting to the internet when accessing course material online during the pandemic. Without action from Congress to address these disparities, students are at serious risk of falling behind and missing out on job and academic opportunities provided by the internet,” they continued.
Klobuchar and Eshoo introduced legislation last month to create a dedicated $1 billion fund at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for internet connections as well as equipment like hot spots and Wi-Fi enabled devices.
The Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act would specifically target historically black, tribal, Hispanic and other minority-serving colleges and universities as well as rural institutions.
Wednesday’s letter comes as schools across the country remain shuttered in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.