Democrats Urge $1 Billion for Students' Internet Access

June 4, 2020

Fifteen House and Senate Democrats are urging congressional leaders to include $1 billion in the next coronavirus stimulus package to help low-income college and university students be able to pay for access to the internet.

“As colleges and universities across the country have transitioned to distance learning to limit the spread of coronavirus, many students who relied on campus resources are struggling to continue their education from home,” the Democrats wrote in a letter spearheaded by Senator Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, of California.

“One of the biggest barriers for students of color, students in rural areas and other disadvantaged students is lack of access to reliable and affordable internet connectivity, equipment required for connectivity, and devices. These are all required to participate in distance learning,” the letter said. It noted that even before the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, only 66 percent of black households, 61 percent of Hispanic households and 63 percent of rural households had access to broadband.

A bill introduced in May by Klobuchar and Democratic senators Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii; Gary Peters, of Michigan; and Jacky Rosen, of Nevada, would allow the money to be used for internet access and equipment like laptops.

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