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UNC GA Laptop Giveaway Shortens Digital Divide at NCCU

Ronnie McAdams, freshman criminal justice student and Kimberly Phifer-McGhee, director of NCCU Extended Studies
Matthew Rascoff, vice president for technology-based learning and innovation for the University of North Carolina General Administration; Kimberly Phifer-McGhee, director of NCCU Extended Studies, Jason Ricker, Kramden Institute director of technical operations; Kayla Carter, NCCU senior criminal justice student; Dr. Johnson Akinleye, NCCU provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs; Cari DelMariani, Kramden Institute director of programs; Michael Abensour, Kramen Institute executive director
Kayla Carter, senior criminal justice student and Kimberly Phifer-McGhee, director of NCCU Extended Studies

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has partnered with the University of North Carolina General Administration and Kramden Institute in an innovative technology partnership that provides selected distance-education and online-degree-seeking students with free refurbished laptops from Durham County Government.

The NCCU Division of Extended Studies selected 100 degree-seeking students currently enrolled in distance-education classes. Along with laptops, students are eligible to receive tech support from the NCCU Information Technology Services Help Desk as long as they are enrolled at the university.

“I’m thrilled to have the resources needed to take advantage of the online classes provided at NCCU – the flexibility of online classes are very helpful,” said Brad Knutson, a freshman criminal justice student from Youngsville, N.C.

“We are excited about the partnership with University of North Carolina General Administration and Kramden Institute,” said Kimberly Phifer-McGhee, director of NCCU Division of Extended Studies. “Receiving a free laptop is a great incentive to our students enrolled in online education programs." 

Recipient selection targeted students who met the following criteria: currently enrolled in distance-education classes, good academic standing and completion of an online application with an essay.

“With nearly 400 online degree and certificate programs and over 113,000 students taking online courses last year, the University of North Carolina System is a national leader in online higher education. But for online programs to truly expand access, we need to make sure our students have the equipment and bandwidth to connect,” said Matthew Rascoff, vice president for the Office of Learning Technology and Innovation for the University of North Carolina system.

Rascoff developed the partnership between NCCU and Kramden Institute, a non-profit organization in Research Triangle Park that refurbishes donated computers at low- or no-cost, to bridge the digital divide.

“We are really excited for this step in a new direction for Kramden – this is one of our first partnerships with a university,” said Jason Ricker, Kramden Institute’s director of technical operations. “We are happy to work with NCCU. This will be a great help to students enrolled in online classes.”

“By providing laptops to needy students taking online courses, in partnership with our partners at the Kramden Institute, we are taking a step forward in widening access to excellent higher education opportunities at North Carolina Central University,” Rascoff said.

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