The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today awarded more than $175 million to 61 colleges and universities as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC). These will be the final awards made through the program, NTIA said.
The grants are designed to help expand community technology hubs, upgrade classroom technology, and increase digital literacy skills at their minority-serving colleges and universities.
Since the program’s inception, awards have been made to 93 universities, including 43 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 24 Hispanic Serving Institutions, 21 Minority Serving Institutions, and five Tribal Colleges and Universities.
The latest batch of awards cover colleges and universities in 29 states and four territories.
One of the largest awards announced went to Tuskegee University (AL), which is receiving just under $3.57 million for its “ConnecTUvity: Anchoring the Future of Tuskegee with Broadband Technology” project. The project is designed to upgrade the campus fiber backbone and upgrade audio-visual equipment and severely outdated equipment in learning spaces to ensure that the equipment is technologically current to support the needs of the campus and students.
Tuskegee University will upgrade fiber optic network and classroom cabling; enhance the cybersecurity posture at the university by expanding policies, user awareness, and training curriculum offered to faculty, staff, and students; equip STEM and nursing disciplines with technological equipment; and increase the number of Hyflex learning spaces to support hybrid instruction.
Last month, NTIA awarded 12 grants totaling more than $33.5 million under the CMC program.
“Access to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service is necessary for minority students and local communities to fully access school, healthcare, and jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, in a prepared statement about the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.
“The Department of Commerce has made significant investment into minority-serving colleges and universities, and I am proud to say that all funding from the Connecting Minority Communities program has been distributed to help make Internet connectivity a reality for tens of thousands of students at minority-serving colleges and universities across the country.”