The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that 1.8 million Texans, many of them in rural areas, lack access to high-speed internet access. And a Pew Research Center report released in May revealed that 44 percent of adults in households with incomes below $30,000 don’t have broadband, 29 percent don’t own a smartphone and 46 percent don’t have a traditional computer. In several small communities in Texas, only one in three students have internet access, and across the state, one household in three is without a connection to any communications network.
For many Americans, the price of the tools, equipment, and internet access is just too high. Access and affordability are major barriers to the dream of pursuing higher education.
At WGU Texas, we’re committed to removing barriers to learning opportunities. To help reach this goal, WGU’s Online Access Scholarship program will award up to $1 million in scholarships to 2000 students, along with the tools and equipment to make it possible for individuals to improve their lives through education.
Three WGU Texas students were among the first Online Access Scholarship recipients and are now equipped to pursue their dreams of a college education and career opportunities.
Fulfilling a life-long passion.
Petrina Love, from Katy, wants to become an RN and applied for the scholarship to pursue a degree in nursing. Love knew she had a passion to help others, “I knew as a child that I would help people. I have always had the heart to help others. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.” She is a full-time nurse (LVN) and her goal is to earn a BSN and ultimately complete her master’s degree. “I love being a nurse and being able to finish school would allow me to work in other areas in the nursing field,” Love added.
A niche for guiding and helping others.
Houston-area resident Rokeisha Turner applied for the scholarship and took the first steps toward completing a degree that would lead to a more fulfilling career and a better lifestyle for her family. Turner is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing. “I have always had a niche for guiding and helping others. My long-term goals are to be financially stable, support my family, and work for a great company with the skills I obtain through college,” said Turner.
Becoming a small business owner.
One of the first recipients, Ashley Lemley, lives in the small East Texas town of Woodville, with about 3,000 residents. After graduating high school in 2018, this young mother of two attended an online university but fell behind because she lacked reliable, affordable internet access. With this scholarship, Ashley is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business administration. Her goal is to own and operate a successful small business to support her family. Completing her degree will be life changing.
Closing the digital divide: Access granted.
For those who have experienced job and income loss during the pandemic or are in low-income households, the opportunity to return to school to prepare for a new career is imperative. However, without the financial means to start or return to school, it’s difficult to take the next step. The WGU Online Access Scholarship makes it possible for students to earn degrees from the safety of their homes or wherever they choose through self-paced, competency-based education.
To learn more and to apply for the Online Access Scholarship, visit wgu.edu/access.
The Online Access Scholarship supports internet access allowing students to overcome obstacles to earning degrees.