Investments Boost Broadband Internet Access at Minority-Serving Institutions

The Biden administration awarded $10.6 million in grants to improve internet access and digital literacy for both students and community members.
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  • The Biden administration announced $10.6 million in grants to expand internet access.
  • The grants will go to five minority-serving institutions (MSIs) across the country.
  • The funding will be used to expand internet access and literacy for both students and community members.
  • The grants are part of a broader effort to fund internet access at minority-serving institutions.

Five minority-serving colleges and universities will receive grants to boost internet access and digital literacy, the Biden administration announced this month.

The grants from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration total $10,624,577. In addition to boosting classroom technology and digital literacy, the grants will also go toward expanding technology hubs for local communities.

“Minority-serving institutions are key drivers of digital skills education and workforce development programs for communities across the country.”
— Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce
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"Minority-serving institutions are key drivers of digital skills education and workforce development programs for communities across the country," Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in the announcement.

The grants are part of the broader Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) pilot program, which aims to boost broadband internet access at Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal College or Universities (TCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs.)

"This program will build digital capacity for colleges and universities that will deliver benefits to their students and fuel job creation and economic growth in their communities," Raimondo said in the release.

Recipients of this round of CMC grants include:

  • College of the Marshall Islands, which received $1,794,628 to improve broadband access in remote communities and strengthen its IT program.
  • Eastern University in St. David's, Pennsylvania, which received $2,031,405 for a wide-reaching digital literacy project.
  • Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles, California, which received $747,019 for its program to improve internet access for next generation women leaders.
  • New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, which received $2,988,682 to use digital technology to "deliver a culturally responsive curriculum to underserved populations in Northern New Mexico."
  • North Carolina Central University in Durham, which received $2,996,134 to address a lack of broadband access and equity at the university and surrounding communities.

The CMC program was funded with $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, according to the release. Grants will be announced on a rolling basis. At least 40% of funds must be distributed to qualifying HBCUs, and at least 20% must be distributed to applicants that provide high-speed internet access or equipment to their students, according to the release.