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Much of the world now occurs through the internet, and it becomes more essential all the time. Education is no exception. Schools use it frequently, and students do at home as well.

That makes internet access very important. According to the Casa Grande Union High School District, 17% of students in the United States do not have access to a computer at home and about 18% have no broadband internet access. It is somewhat surprising that internet access has become that widespread in a relatively few years, but still, when it is that common and a sixth to nearly a fifth of students do not have it, there is a problem.

The district is addressing this challenge by checking out hotspots that students can take home to get on the internet. A partnership with Sprint for ConnectedEd and the 1Million Project Foundation is providing 70 hotspots for use by Casa Grande Union and Vista Grande high school students. They and their parents only have to fill out and sign a form. The hotspots must be returned at the end of the semester but another can then be checked out.

The district has received the devices free and pays for half the cost of the internet, about $22.99 per device monthly. More devices are expected in the future.

The world is changing rapidly, and as the cost of a college education grows, its value in some fields is in question. Meanwhile, however, more technical skills are required in many fields, and use of the internet figures into most of them. The district program means much for both learning to use the internet effectively and also the knowledge that is gained.

Many Pinal County students lack the resources and support that other students have. Programs that help them achieve in the classroom are important, and the CGUHS District is striving to assist with that.

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