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Upper Iowa University is among 43 Iowa colleges and universities awarded nearly $4.4 million to increase internet connectivity for students in the 2020-21 school year. The state of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Education announced the funding Thursday, October 22, as part of the state’s $26.2 million in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds, and is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

UIU was awarded approximately $134,000, which will help the university further address barriers to online and remote learning opportunities for the 2020-21 school year and help ensure students have equitable access to technology needed to continue their education throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact those who wish to start or continue their pursuit of higher education, UIU has risen to the challenge in multiple ways,” said UIU President William R. Duffy. “These funds will only strengthen our resolve to continue offering all students an excellent experience in their pursuit of a high-quality education.

Founded in 1857, UIU has a long history of creating learning opportunities close to home. In 1973, UIU established an external degree program (paper based) for individuals with jobs, families or military service, who were unable to afford or attend college fulltime. In 1981, UIU began opening education locations within the US and abroad. In 1999, UIU initiated its online offerings, and in 2011 UIU became one of Zoom’s initial partners, to once again expand UIU’s ability to provide quality educational opportunities.

Allocations for the recent internet connectivity funds were based on the financial need of undergraduate students at each of the colleges and universities, as determined by the number of students who receive federal Pell grants. An additional $1.5 million in GEER funds will be available for professional development to support effective online and remote instruction at Iowa’s colleges and universities. Applicants have until Dec. 11 to apply.