For low-income students, the pandemic has revealed a particular hurdle in technology accessibility. Indeed, a fall 2020 report from the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge found that lower-income households across the country do not have access to the technologies that students need for remote learning, with more than 2 in 5 households lacking access to computers or the internet.
“If digital inequity is addressed holistically, it paves a path for technology teams to do what they do best: procure, configure, secure and deploy the equipment and solutions needed,” says Tina Pappas, associate director of innovation and technology at Rutgers University.
Here are some critical focal points and tips for higher education IT teams as they try to bridge the digital divide for low-income students.
1. Prioritize internet access for students — both on and off campus.
From mobile hotspots to expanding Wi-Fi connectivity on campus and connecting students to discounted internet plans, colleges and universities have taken creative approaches to provide students with the reliable online access they need to stay connected and engaged.
2. Make sure they have the right devices and software.
While most students today do have access to at least one connected device, financially challenged students are more likely to have outdated devices that are...