More than 3 thousand students benefited from the program which had the objective of providing support to students who don’t have access to the internet. Thanks to the benefit, they will be able to join the online classes and to continue with their undergraduate studies under the current circumstances.
In the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) decided in March to suspend all on-site activities and to teach the students online during the first semester of 2020. But not all of the students do have access to the internet. This is why the University decided to support the students in need by providing them with a scholarship, in order to give them the opportunity to join the online semester.
The benefit consists of a monthly scholarship of 15,000 CLP (ca. 18 USD) each, so that the students can obtain access to the internet and the virtual platforms on which the online classes take place. It helps the students to purchase or improve their data plan, what allows them to participate in this new teaching model that will last the whole first semester of 2020.
Unlike other universities, the Universidad de La Frontera believes that a direct financial aid is the best option, considering that part of the student body lives in places with poor connectivity due to the context of our region.
Another service that UFRO has implemented with the help of the Student Development Office is the loan of laptops. Because of the limited number of equipment, the different UFRO Faculties also gave their support in this process by making equipment available to the students in need.
Alex Seguel, the director of the Office for Student Development (DDE), commented that they have made a joint effort with the Faculties to assign computer equipment, based on the information the DDE had.
“We are committed to responding in the best possible way to a requirement that is complex, both in terms of logistics and access in the case of rural areas. But we are working on it. We talked with the Faculties to inform them about our selection process, which allows them to have a record of the allocation of equipment and also for them to better distribute their own resources. Our goal is to help the University to meet all requirements,” he explained.
Verónica Pincheira is the head of the UFRO Office for Student Services and pointed out that the scholarship was allocated based on socioeconomic and university admission conditions and the enrollment history.
The data was cross-checked against the University's enrolment system (socio-economic indicators, type of admission, educational establishment they came from and whether they live in urban or rural areas). Ten different variables were considered - six are based on socioeconomic factors and the others are based on the student’s enrollment and geographic location,” Verónica Pincheira explained.
DELIVERY OF THE SCHOLARSHIP
The scholarship will be delivered via wire transfer to the bank account indicated by the students in their application form. The beneficiaries of the first call for the Internet Connectivity Scholarship have already been paid and at the moment the University is working on the delivery of the scholarship for beneficiaries of the second call, as well as on handing out laptops to the students selected for this benefit.
Until now, the UFRO Office for Student Development and the different Faculties handed out 133 laptops to students living in the urban area and 250 laptops to students living in rural areas.
Written by: UFRO Communications Office