National Telecommunications and Information Administration gives over $2.8 million to Benedict College

Benedict College
Benedict College(AP)
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 1:42 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Benedict College announced on Monday they received $2,893,457 in funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for the implementation of a pilot program titled “Connecting Minority Communities and Innovations Initiative.”

The Connecting Minority Communities program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet program, that is said to connect everyone in America with affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service.

School officials say the program specifically directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and Minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

“We will employ IT improvements to the broadband infrastructure on campus, develop a Community Learning Center for the surrounding community and implement a Loan Device Program for laptop computers with hot spots,” said Leon Geter, PhD., director of the Center for Cybersecurity, Chair of the Criminal Justice, Arts, and Social Sciences Department and the lead Principal Investigator for this grant.

According to a press release researches found that 40% of these individuals do not have internet access, while in Richland County, where Benedict College is located, 31.2% are also not connected.

“The coronavirus exacerbated digital inequities and revealed significant challenges in the African American community in particular,” said president and CEO of Benedict Roslyn Clark Artis, PhD, “In 2020, we saw firsthand how the lack of broadband access affected our students, faculty, staff, and community. Our goal is to narrow the digital divide for low-income students at Benedict College and those adults and students surrounding the campus.”

The initial program will span over a two-year period, school officials say.

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