The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) is moving forward with one of the single-largest bulk orders of laptop-style devices in the history of California’s community college education system to help meet the burgeoning technology needs of its students to complete lessons in remote learning platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LACCD Board of Trustees unanimously voted 7-0 in special session Wednesday, Aug. 19 to approve an emergency purchase totaling nearly $3 million for more than 14,800 Surface Go devices for students who enroll at the District’s nine colleges for the Fall 2020 semester. About half of these devices will be given away for free to students with demonstrated financial needs and the other half will be distributed as loaners.
Already, about 4,000 Chromebooks have been distributed at no cost to L.A. College Promise students for the Fall 2020 Semester as part of the District’s free tuition program. A second bulk order for about 7,500 more devices is planned for October. All of this comes after about 12,000 devices were already distributed to students for the Spring 2020 semester. To date, LACCD will purchase and distribute nearly 40,000 Chromebooks or Surface Go devices to students during the Spring and Fall 2020 semesters since the COVID-19 emergency began earlier this year.
“Our students have a real need for this technology to meet their educational goals within remote learning environments. This isn’t an option, it’s a necessity, and LACCD is rising to the challenge to help our students,” LACCD Board of Trustees President Andra Hoffman said.
The current, limited supply of devices are only available to students who are enrolled in the Fall 2020 Semester. Open enrollment with guaranteed admission is ongoing. New students must first apply to the college of their choice by visiting at lacolleges.net, while existing students can use their student email and enroll in classes via the LACCD special student portal.
“At LACCD, we recognize these are challenging times for students and families and that the digital divide is real for working families who are trying to make ends meet. Providing basic technology tools that students need to be successful removes a key barrier to their success. We guarantee each student a seat in class and the opportunity for a better future. Why delay? Enroll now. Classes begin on August 31 and throughout the semester,” LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D., said.
Currently enrolled students who want to apply for a Surface Go must log into the student portal at MyCollege.laccd.edu. All applications will be reviewed and awards are based on demonstrated financial need. The application process opened earlier this week and nearly 2,000 applications have already been received.