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WGU to grant $1M in online access scholarships to close the digital divide learning gap

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Posted at 3:13 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 18:27:14-04

Western Governors University (WGU), an online nonprofit university, will grant high-speed internet access and provide devices to new and current WGU students who need and can’t afford them through its Online Access Scholarship program.

The scholarship program is part of a broader WGU initiative aimed at working with policy makers and private industry to close the digital divide by providing more Americans access to reliable internet in their homes.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, approximately 7.3 percent of Nevada residents lack broadband access, compared to 6.5 percent of residents across the nation and many more are unable to afford broadband service. In one of Nevada’s 17 counties (5.9 percent of Nevada’s counties), at least half of all county residents lack broadband access

A recent report by OpenVault found that average broadband consumption at the end of the first quarter in 2020 rose to 402.5GB per user, an increase of 47 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019’s average of 273.5 GB.

WGU is attacking the digital divide problem on several fronts beyond the scholarship.

These include a partnership with the National Governors Association to identify problems, resources and solutions; advocating for policies that improve and expand the nation’s digital infrastructure; and coalition-building efforts that will help raise awareness of broadband inequities.

More information on WGU’s Online Access Scholarship is available here and by calling (385) 428-3125.