As courses reconvene in an online landscape, select students at the University are being granted $200 scholarships to assist in their transition.
Associate Provost for Student Success Pamela Cheek said up to 400 students will be able to receive the Lobos Connect Mini-Scholarship, which aims to financially assist students who need reliable access to the internet.
“(The $200) amount is based on an assessment of how much it might cost to purchase a MiFi or to augment cell phone or internet services for a few months,” Cheek said.
The University shifted online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that made its way to the state in mid-March. As of the publication of this article, there are 281 confirmed cases of the disease in New Mexico, with 117 in Bernalillo County.
Cheek said recipients of the scholarship must be Pell Grant eligible, a federal grant awarded on a financial need basis. If a student receives the scholarship, funds will be distributed through the students’ Bursar’s account.
Cheek said the selection process for the scholarship is streamlined through one of two routes — by filling out UNM’s COVID-19 Student Needs Assessment Survey, or through identification by faculty or advisors. She added students can indicate they are Pell Grant eligible in the comments portion of the survey, along with addressing their specific internet barriers.
“We know that the transition to remote web-enhanced learning is a hard one and is made even harder if you don’t have good internet services,” Cheek said.
As for where the $80,000 in funding came from, Cheek said Vice President of Enrollment Management Dan García and Provost James Holloway coordinated to identify emergency funds for the scholarship, but did not specify further.
For students who do not receive the scholarship but still struggle to access reliable internet, Cheek pointed to UNM’s Student Technology Access webpage for a list of information and hotspot maps. The website clarifies that although many UNM buildings are closed, students can still access the University’s internet by being in close proximity to buildings.
Dane Smith Hall’s computer lab will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to the Student Technology Access website.
Students without laptops can apply to receive one from the University by filling out this form and emailing it to email@example.com. Like the scholarship, preference is given to Pell Grant eligible students because of the limited supply, according to the Student Technology Access website.
Alyssa Martinez is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amart4447