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.


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

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction FDA signals plan to address toxic elements in baby food 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 HironoOvernight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Republicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (D-Hawaii), Gary PetersGary PetersSenate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants Democratic centrists flex power on Biden legislation Alarming threat prompts early exit, underscoring security fears MORE (D-Mich.) and Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenRosen to lead Senate Democrats' efforts to support female candidates Democratic senator demands Rand Paul wear a mask on Senate floor Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (D-Nev.) in introducing the Senate bill.

Democratic Reps. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooBiden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research House Democrats want to silence opposing views, not 'fake news' MORE (Calif.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiBiden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Overnight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines Cyberattack forces shutdown of Baltimore County schools for the day MORE (Calif.), G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldCBC 'unequivocally' endorses Shalanda Young for White House budget chief Black Caucus members lobby Biden to tap Shalanda Young for OMB head Bickering Democrats return with divisions MORE (N.C.), Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeWe need to lay the foundation for meaningful housing policy change Black Caucus members lobby Biden to tap Shalanda Young for OMB head Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack MORE (Ohio), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroWhy paid internships matter for foreign policy careers State Department establishes chief officer in charge of diversity Texas governor faces criticism over handling of winter storm fallout MORE (Texas), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.) and Alma AdamsAlma Shealey AdamsHouse Democrats call on Biden to fill Postal Service Board vacancies to pave way for ousting DeJoy Overnight Health Care: New COVID-19 cases nationally drop below 100K for first time in 2021 | CDC warns states against lifting restrictions amid threat of virus variants | Health officials warn COVID-19 eradication unlikely Black maternal health omnibus package introduced by Democratic lawmakers MORE (N.C.) introduced the House companion legislation.


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.