Minnesota State Community and Technical College is excited to support the technology needs of its students by handing out up to 500 free laptops on its four campuses during a distribution on Thursday, Sept. 3.

Qualified students will receive a laptop, wireless mouse and protection sleeve, funded by $175,000 in Cares Act funding awarded to M State.

The laptop distribution program targets students in need of technology to succeed in their M State programs. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, M State moved the majority of its courses to online this fall, which can pose a challenge to students without adequate technology.

“When the world is being driven by technology, M State is thrilled to be able to provide these computers for our students,” said Shawn Anderson, dean of student affairs. “This will ensure that students can access their online classes and get the virtual support they need from M State staff. Ensuring that students can connect with staff and faculty, even if they’re not on campus, is crucial.”

Students must apply online to determine whether they qualify for the laptops, which will be theirs to keep. Distribution will take place from 1-4 p.m. Thursday on M State campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena.

“M State is at its best when empowering our students with every opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to prepare for a fruitful career, transfer to a top-rated university and strengthen our communities through upward economic mobility,” said John Maduko, vice president of academics and student affairs. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted technology insecurity among our students, many of whom are also parents to K-12 students adapting to distance education.

“On our Moorhead campus alone, our loaner laptops available through the campus library were checked out more than 9,200 times over a two-year period. We’re pleased to be able to partner with our students to eliminate one of the barriers that could prevent them from completing their degrees at M State.”

The CARES Act allows colleges to use federal funding to provide technology assistance and support to students whose education was disrupted when the pandemic forced colleges to move courses online.

For more information about M State’s laptop distribution program, contact Shawn Anderson at shawn.anderson@minnesota.edu or 218-299-6535, or Angela Mathers at angela.mathers@minnesota.edu or 218-299-6853.

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