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Democrats introduce legislation to ensure internet access for college students

Democrats introduce legislation to ensure internet access for college students
© Greg Nash

Democrats in both chambers introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at ensuring that all college students have internet access amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act allocates $1 billion for a fund at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration targeted for students lacking internet access.

The funding would be used directly for internet connections as well as equipment like hot spots and Wi-Fi enabled devices.

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Schools receiving funding would be required to prioritize students eligible for financial aid.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.), who is leading the bill's introduction in the Senate, said in a statement that "ensuring college and university students have access to high-speed internet is critical" during the pandemic.

“The Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act would help ensure that college and university students with the greatest financial need can access high-speed internet and essential equipment, such as laptops and tablets, to help them stay connected to their schools and communities during this public health crisis.” 

Klobuchar was joined by Sens. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Hawaii), Gary PetersGary PetersRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE (D-Mich.) and Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses MORE (D-Nev.) in introducing the Senate bill.

Democratic Reps. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHow to expand rural broadband, fast and affordably Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses MORE (Calif.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiCyberattack forces shutdown of Baltimore County schools for the day Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg and Dorsey return for another hearing | House passes 5G funding bill | Twitter introduces 'fleets' House approves legislation providing 0 million to boost US 5G efforts MORE (Calif.), G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldBickering Democrats return with divisions Congress must protect kidney disease patients during the COVID-19 pandemic The time for HELP is now: Senate should pass bill to expedite recovery following natural disasters MORE (N.C.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeDangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds MORE (Ohio), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroMeet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House Hispanic Caucus endorses Castro for Foreign Affairs gavel Progressive Democrats call on Pompeo to condemn Israeli demolition of Beduin village MORE (Texas), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.) and Alma AdamsAlma Shealey AdamsRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Armed Trump supporter arrested at North Carolina polling place From HBCUs to Capitol Hill: How Congress can play an important role MORE (N.C.) introduced the House companion legislation.

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The legislation comes as schools across the country remain shuttered in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

That has moved many classes online, highlighting the millions of students in America who do not have internet access at home.

The so-called digital divide affects students every week, but has gained added importance and attention with the school closures.