The federal government has awarded Lincoln University of Missouri a $2.9 million grant for student laptops and classroom upgrades next year.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Lincoln is set to receive $2,980,070 from its Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, which distributes funds to colleges and universities to expand internet access.

The NTIA grant covers two years and the upgrades should be noticeable around campus next fall semester, according to Lincoln University President John Moseley.

Moseley said the grant money has released the university from choosing between student resources and campus renovation.

“It’s a win-win,” Moseley told the News Tribune. “For us, it’s a significant boost to what it is that we’re providing in the student experience.”

Moseley said the grant money should be enough to provide each of Lincoln’s 1,236 full-time students with a laptop and add new technology to more than 40 classrooms. This will allow for hybrid or distant learning, he said.

Moseley said that students will also have the opportunity to check out internet hotspots as needed.

According to the project description from NTIA, the university will use the funds to subsidize internet service and equipment for eligible low-income students, hire a full-time student technology coordinator and extend technology support services to evenings and weekends.

News Tribune reports the new staff member will be responsible for managing the distribution and maintenance of student laptops and hotspots.

Moseley said the university can now consider E-books for course materials in some classes, which could reduce costs for students.

“We look forward to evaluating the success of it,” Moseley said. “If there is a noticeable increase in student performance, it puts even greater emphasis on ensuring that opportunities like this exist beyond the two-year mark.”