Minnesota State Community and Technical College will be supporting the technology needs of its students by handing out up to 500 free laptops on its four campuses during a distribution on Thursday, Sept. 3.

Qualified students will receive a laptop, wireless mouse and protection sleeve, funded by $175,000 in coronavirus relief bill funding awarded to M State, according to an M State news release. The bill allows colleges to use the federal funding to provide technology assistance and support to students whose education was disrupted when the pandemic forced colleges to move courses online.

The laptop distribution program targets students who are in need of technology to succeed in their M State programs. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, M State moved the majority of its courses online this fall, which can pose a challenge to students without adequate technology, according to the release.

“When the world is being driven by technology, M State is thrilled to be able to provide these computers for our students,” dean of student affairs Shawn Anderson said in the release. “This will ensure that students can access their online classes and get the virtual support they need from M State staff. Ensuring that students can connect with staff and faculty, even if they’re not on campus, is crucial.”

Students must apply online to determine whether they qualify for the laptops, which will be theirs to keep. Distribution will take place from 1-4 p.m. Thursday on M State’s campuses in Wadena, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls and Moorhead.

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“M State is at its best when empowering our students with every opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to prepare for a fruitful career, transfer to a top-rated university and strengthen our communities through upward economic mobility,” vice president of academics and student affairs John Maduko said in the release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted technology insecurity among our students, many of whom are also parents to K12 students adapting to distance education.”

For more information about M State’s laptop distribution program, contact Shawn Anderson at shawn.anderson@minnesota.edu or 218-299-6535; or Angela Mathers at angela.mathers@minnesota.edu or 218-299-6853.