Nov. 13—ALBANY — Albany State University has been awarded $2.9 million for the Connecting Minority Communities Program federal grant from the United States Department of Commerce. This grant was made possible by the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021.
The Connecting Minority Communities Program will plan, develop, and expand the institution's reach to online and distance learning globally. With a focus on broadband expansions, the program will enhance the educational instruction and learning opportunities offered at ASU.
"We are honored to be awarded the grant for the Connecting Minority Communities Program," ASU President Marion Fedrick said in a news release. "This grant will address the growing demand of support needed for broadband connectivity in the Albany community while establishing a foundation for future distance learning at Albany State University.
"The program aligns with our strategic plan that addresses opportunities for community partnership, ensures student access and success and creates the environment where both the community and our students can thrive."
The program will expand on broadband access and allow ASU to purchase devices, educational software, internet access services, and other IT software and hardware for low-income students.
"Broadband access is crucial to so many aspects of our everyday lives," Congressman Sanford Bishop said. "The pandemic highlighted how important it is in order to keep our teachers and students connected, as well as how crucial it is to our economy. Albany State University is an educational cornerstone in southwest Georgia. It can use this federal grant to improve its broadband infrastructure, which will help ASU train the next generation of entrepreneurs and workers as well as serve as an informational hub connecting local officials, our regional industry sectors, and the community organizations that serve our residents."
ASU's global expansion will provide students from Georgia and beyond an enhanced historically black college and university experience, course credits and fully online degrees and certificates.
"Our No. 1 customers are our students, and Albany State plays a leading role as one of the state's premier public HBCUs in making sure they can access the technology they need to succeed and contribute to Georgia's workforce," University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. "I'm proud of President Fedrick and her campus for leading this initiative and look forward to seeing them implement it as they continue to build and maintain strong community partnerships."
The program will serve students from Albany, the surrounding community, and the regional economy that are in recovery due to the impacts of COVID-19.