Maui Coronavirus Updates

Bill Seeks to Boost High-Speed Internet Access for College Students During Pandemic

May 13, 2020, 11:44 AM HST
* Updated May 13, 11:46 AM
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US Senator Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaiʻi joined colleagues in introducing a bill to boost high-speed internet access for college students completing coursework during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act would invest $1 billion for the creation of an emergency fund to support college and graduate students now studying from home.

The funds would provide internet connections and equipment like Wi-Fi hotspots, routers, modems, laptops, tablets and other internet-enabled devices.  Hirono notes that there are an estimated 14 million households—including more than 52,000 households in Hawaiʻi—that don’t have any internet.

“The Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act invests in college students who are trying to keep up with their studies by providing internet-connected devices and broadband access to continue their education, even as social distancing continues,” said Sen. Hirono.

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner said having adequate equipment and broadband service is now essential for success in higher education, and the students who stand to benefit most from higher education often face the greatest financial and geographic barriers.

Senator Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi) was joined by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in introducing the legislation.

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