Mattoon, IL -(Effingham Radio)- Lake Land College is implementing several initiatives to assist students this fall, including financial assistance, a new laptop rental program and new classroom technology.
“We are committed to helping our students succeed by providing access to the resources and technology they need, when they need it,” President Josh Bullock said. “The new technology and financial assistance programs made available with COVID-relief funding will be able to break down some barriers for students and allow them to continue on their path to a successful career.”
On Monday, July 12, the Lake Land College Board of Trustees approved the purchase of 300 new Dell laptops using Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) governmental funds. The Information Systems and Services team will prepare each of the laptops, and beginning August 16, students can check them out in the Judge Learning Resource Center/Library. The college will also be proposing the implementation of a new help desk at a future Lake Land College Board of Trustees meeting. If approved, the help desk will be available to students during the hours they are using online resources.
Student Trustee Katie Greuel said the students appreciated the Chromebooks that the college made available last year, but recognized that they had limitations. “I really think the laptops are a great idea. It will be nice for students to be able to complete their school work at home. It will definitely be utilized.”
Throughout the past year, the college has used COVID-relief funds to provide financial assistance to students to help cover educational expenses, such as tuition and fees, course materials, technology, food, housing, transportation, or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus such as health care (including mental health care) or child care. Students do not have to repay these grant funds. In addition to the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the college has additional funding available to assist students through the HEERF funds authorized through the American Rescue Plan.
This fall, Lake Land College will prioritize the distribution of these funds in three tiers: 1. Students with the most financial need, based on their FAFSA; 2. Students enrolled in programs that have high costs for tools, supplies or tests and 3. Any student with a self-identified area of need.
Students enrolled in the fall as of the 10th day of the semester, will have the opportunity to request funds due to hardships experienced throughout the pandemic. Full-time students enrolled in at least 12 credit hours can request up to $1,000 and part-time students enrolled in three to 11 credit hours can request up to $500 to assist with educational expenses. The request form will be available in the Laker Hub, the student portal.
Students who previously were enrolled at Lake Land, but had to withdraw in Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 due to the pandemic are eligible to receive a tuition waiver for up to five credit hours. The college will be notifying these eligible students via a letter in the coming weeks.
The college will also be equipping some classrooms with state-of-the-art HyFlex Model technology, allowing faculty to provide instruction to students who are physically present while also enabling students to attend virtually if desired. Lake Land College has collaborated with SynapSIS, Inc. of Springfield to implement this technology for dual credit courses as part of the Rural Education Delivery System (REDS) project. The REDS project connected the college to five rural high school sites via high definition video and audio conferencing capabilities.
This fully integrated system is powered by the Eagle Eye Director by Polycom and has touchscreen display boards, Eagle-eye motion sensitive cameras and ceiling microphones. The system’s people-tracking technology automatically zooms in on the active speaker, allowing faculty, students and other presenters to better engage with the learning experience.
Enabling instructors to simultaneously teach in-person and online classes, the HyFlex Model expands the flexibility for students to access educational services and resources via a variety of situations.
For more information on these resources visit lakelandcollege.edu.