College Unbound

Background:

College Unbound is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides a pathway to an accredited bachelor’s degree by partnering with colleges and universities. Their program is designed for adult learners who began degree programs, but left higher education to start families, begin careers, or because they could no longer afford the time and money required to stay in the program. 95% of their students are eligible for Pell grants (less than $23,000 in annual income) and over 70% are from under-represented minority populations.

College Unbound’s curriculum is largely online and completed in an out-of-the-classroom setting; yet many students did not have the necessary access to computers or Internet to complete their coursework.

Implementation:

Through Mobile Beacon’s laptop donation program, College Unbound received laptops and modems which they are lending to students. This gave students the tools they needed to participate in College Unbound’s highly personalized and flexible program. Students used the laptops and Internet access for homework, taking notes, creating flyers and email.

Results:

    • Students were thrilled to be able to connect to the Internet wherever they needed it, crediting the anywhere/anytime-access with helping them complete assignments on time. Others who had never had a computer or Internet access were excited to finally have the tools they needed to succeed. At the end of the semester, a study of participants revealed:
      1. 100% of respondents cited an example of how the devices assisted with project development and/or helped them to complete assignments.
      2. Of the respondents who borrowed laptops, 78% said they used the laptop often. 100% rated them as very useful.
      3. Of the respondents who borrowed a modem, 77% rated them as very useful, and 38% said they used the modem often.
  • College Unbound staff also found the devices extremely useful in providing backup Internet service when their primary connection was interrupted. They reported that the Mobile Beacon modems rescued their work day on several occasions.
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