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Limited Broadband Access Not Just Rural Issue

August 13, 2020

A report on broadband internet access in Virginia has found that 40 percent of students without access live in urban areas.

The report, published by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, analyses data from U.S. Census' American Community Survey. It found one in five Virginia K-12 and college students lack either high-speed internet or a computer in their home, both of which are necessary for successful online or remote learning.

While students in rural areas are still less likely to have broadband access than students in urban areas, 40 percent of all students without access live in or around Virginia's cities. Additionally, half of all students without computers live in urban areas. Black and Latinx students are twice as likely as white students to not have a computer.

Among Virginia college students, 10 percent have no high-speed internet service, and 4 percent have no computer.

"COVID-19 has highlighted the inequalities our students face in digital leaning. However, it also presents an opportunity to form a comprehensive response to the challenges presented by the digital divide," said the report.

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Lindsay McKenzie

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