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Frazier grant to make laptop computers available to Southeast students

Special to the Enterprise

The Robert E. Frazier Foundation has awarded Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College nearly $30,000 to establish a Laptop Lending Program for students on the Cumberland Campus. The announcement was made recently by Bobbie Gothard, spokesperson for the Foundation.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in classes being quickly transitioned to online instruction during the spring semester, requiring students to have internet access. Southeast provided WiFi in the parking lot of each campus for students without internet access at home.

However, college officials report that not all students had access to a computer. Research revealed that half of all students did not have access to any sort of computer, and one-third of them depended solely on a cell phone to complete coursework. Even worse, many students reported having no access to any device.

“Since my classes were moved online, I’ve been doing my homework and assignments on my phone in the college parking lot,” said one student. “I don’t have internet or a computer, and typing my assignments on my phone has been really hard. I had always used the library computers previously.”

According to Academic Support Center Director Kathy Ditty, there was a clear need for Southeast to find a solution to the problem before students began the fall semester. Thankfully, that solution is a partnership with the Frazier Foundation, which will establish a Laptop Lending Program, allowing students not only to borrow laptops but scientific calculators, as well. Both will be available through the library, now called the Robert E. Frazier Learning Commons in Frazier’s honor.

Ditty said that funding this project will put the college “another step closer to offering a comprehensive support services program for our students.”

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