When colleges and universities shuttered their campuses and pivoted to online learning last year, it exacerbated an existing crisis: too many college students lack access to affordable and high-quality internet. Enrollment rates at community colleges plummeted, with many students citing lack of internet access as a key reason. The high cost of internet service is especially difficult for low-income students who pay and borrow for their education. While there has been a lot of discussion about how the digital divide harms K-12 students, relatively little attention has been paid to the deep and real digital divide in higher education.
Thankfully, Congress recognized this problem and created the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), a new temporary program that provides up to $50 per month—or $75 in Tribal areas—to pay for internet service. College students receiving Pell Grants are eligible for this new program, which began accepting applications on May 12.
Please join New America’s Higher Education program and Open Technology Institute for a discussion on how Pell recipients can enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program and how inequitable access to affordable and reliable internet affects college students.
Follow the conversation online with #Pelligible and by following @NewAmericaEd and @OTI.
For more information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit, click here. To sign up, visit getemergencybroadband.org.
Policy Analyst, New America
Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission
Parent Advisor with Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Monty Roessel, EdD
President, Diné College
Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer, the Los Angeles Community College District
Associate Bureau Chief of Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Federal Communications Commission
Emily Bouck West (moderator)
Deputy Executive Director, Higher Learning Advocates