Donna Washington, the founder of the Student Internet Equity Coalition, shares that 20% of American pupils do not have access to the internet at home. This number increases to 25% for Black pupils. Pupils who are from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have access to the internet or a laptop/computer at home. She states that this creates a learning gap between pupils from high income backgrounds, who have access to the internet at home, and those that do not, who are more likely to fall behind in their studies as a result.
Research from the Student Internet Equity Coalition have found that 35% of students from families earning under $30,000 annually lacked access to the internet at home. Also, 41% of pupils from African-American families lacked access to the internet as well as 34.2% of students from Native American families. Washington states that by 2030, the majority of jobs will require employees to possess digital skills. This means that children from ethnic minority communities and low-income families will be less equipped to succeed in the workplace.
The Student Internet Equity Coalition has created a permanent solution to this issue called The Student Internet Equity Program (SIEP). The SIEP would work with schools and American government to provide internet access and access to devices to all middle school and high school students at a subsidized rate and a fully subsidized rate will be made available for pupils from low-income backgrounds.