A pilot program that would provide for the development of digital and wireless networks at nine colleges that serve minority students cleared Congress Wednesday. The measure is part of the $555-billion omnibus spending bill, HR 2764, that is headed to President Bush for approval.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, would administer the nine grants, each worth $500,000, for the purpose of promoting online education at the institutions. The program authorizes $4.5-million in each of the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. The money is just a fraction of the $250-million that would have been provided under a similar bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in September.
Institutions receiving the grants could use the money to purchase hardware, software, and wireless infrastructure, for faculty training, and for the development of educational services and strategic plans for information-technology investments. —Andrea L. Foster