LAS CRUCES – As online education becomes the new normal, many low-income families are struggling to find resources to allow their children to fully participate in classes. Nearly one-quarter of New Mexico’s students lack equipment and internet access at home.
As part of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship COVID-19 Funding and Support program in collaboration with New Mexico State University’s computer science department, a one-year, $50,000 grant will provide both access to computers and critical online access to students in Columbus, New Mexico.
“Less than half of our homes have internet access, primarily because it’s unaffordable for our lower-income citizens,” said Maria Constantine, the director of the Columbus Village Library. “This puts families at a disadvantage for educational and employment opportunities. This program will help level the playing field for kids and families to access the resources they need to improve their lives.”
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With the grant funding, in collaboration with Constantine at the Columbus Village Library, 30 laptop computers will be purchased to loan out to students through a check out process along with Wi-Fi range extenders outside of the library, which allow students to access the internet from the parking lot.
“During our initial process, we learned that at least 50 people were accessing the internet from their vehicles,” said Adan Delval, director of the Verizon Innovation Learning Program. “During this pandemic, we