FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — On March 27, Highland students received loaner laptops through a generous donation by a private donor through the Highland Foundation. The laptops are to help students without computers at home to continue their studies off-campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Highland surveyed 375 students who had not been previously enrolled in online courses. There were 120 immediate responses, with several indicating they did not have a computer sufficient for online courses. There is still time for students to contact Highland about computer access issues.
“The change to alternatively delivered courses can be challenging for students who do not have a personal computer at home that is sufficient for taking online courses,” said Liz Gerber, Vice President, Student Development and Support Services. “Thanks to a generous donation, Highland is able to loan a limited number of laptops to students. For some of our students, this donation means they will be able to finish the semester.”
Wardella Pearson of Freeport began her studies at Highland for the spring semester. She is one of the students who did not have a laptop that would enable her to take online Highland courses, and said the loaner program “is a lifesaver.”
“This means so much to me because I was afraid all I have worked for since I decided to return to school would be lost,” Pearson said. “I decided to come back to college to make my life better. I was doing okay until the break and that is when I began to get worried. Now I can relax and study.”
Highland students were already half-way through the spring semester when the College needed to shift away from face-to-face learning to adhere to the CDC social distancing guidelines. For some students, the computer loan program means they get to finish what they started.
Jeff Reinke, Executive Director for the Highland Foundation, adds, “During this time when our Highland students are facing many challenges, we believe it’s important they all have the resources needed to finish the semester. This gift from a generous donor has made that possible.”
The HOPE (Helping Overcome Personal Emergencies) fund is also accepting applications from qualified students in need of Internet access to provide emergency funds.
The students receiving a laptop must sign an agreement to return the laptop to the College by June 1, to avoid charges. Students can contact their advisors with any concerns at email@example.com.
Photo: Wardella Pearson of Freeport shows her loaner laptop.