L.A. Compact Seeks Technology Solution for Graduating L.A. Unified Seniors

30,000 L.A. Unified graduating seniors had to return their district-issued laptops on June 12. Many of these students have every intention of starting college in the fall, but without a computer or internet, they may struggle to participate in critical summer bridge activities. UNITE-LA worked with L.A. Unified, L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office and the California Community Foundation to develop a survey to assess the need for personal computing devices amongst recent L.A. Unified graduates. Since early July, over 2,000 L.A. Unified class of 2020 graduates have responded.

Here are the results:

  • Over 50 percent reported they did not have access to a personal computer
  • 64 percent cannot afford to purchase their own personal computer to use for work and/or college
  • 98 percent said they would use a computer to advance their college and career success
  • 97 percent of respondents said they plan to attend college in the fall, and 90 percent had already enrolled

The L.A. Compact has identified several options for high school graduates to get a free or low-cost computer to pursue their postsecondary and/or career plans, including through the L.A. College Promise, Hire LA’s Youth and human-I-T.

The survey reveals a high need for access to technology amongst college-bound students. L.A. Compact partners are mobilizing to connect L.A. Unified graduates with several options to acquire a personal computer that are either free or low-cost:

  1. Attend a local community college through the L.A. College Promise and receive a free Chromebook for your studies. The deadline to apply is August 1, but students who attend this upcoming webinar on August 4 can still enroll this year. L.A. College Promise is a free college program at L.A.’s 9 community colleges, open to all Los Angeles graduates.

  2. Sign up for Hire LA’s Youth for a summer employment opportunity and receive a free laptop to enhance your work experience. Apply at https://www.hirelayouth.com/.

  3. Check out human-I-T for digital resources needed to support you in participating in your coursework remotely! 
    1. Use the promo code “Classof2020” to buy $100-$200 desktops and laptops with tech and hardware support through human-I-T’s website: hitconnect.orgProof of low-income status is required for reduced prices. Find out more here.
      1. Check hitconnect.org regularly as more devices become available.
    2. Get help in finding low-cost internet that works for your household for $10-$25. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish. Text (562) 372-6925 for more information or apply at https://human-i-t.org/request-internet/. Proof of low-income status is required for reduced prices. Find out more here.
    3. Learn more about using computers and the internet by signing up for free virtual classes at https://www.human-i-t.org/request-digital-literacy.

  4. If you plan on attending a college in the fall, also be sure to check in with your financial aid or student affairs offices. Your college may offer resources for purchasing computers or borrowing computers through Campus IT. Connect with your college early so that you don’t miss the opportunity.

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