Bakersfield College launched the Laptop Loaner Program on April 9 due to the high demand of laptops needed for students to practice distant learning.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all courses were transferred to an online format. Doing so left many students struggling to continue current courses because they didn’t have the materials or resources needed. Bakersfield College alumni Greg and Mary Bynum gave a generous donation which allowed for 500 chromebooks to become available for students to borrow for the remainder of the semester.
“Early in the college’s transition to an online environment, President Christian initiated a survey to understand students’ technology needs. As student responses poured in, it became quickly evident there was a high demand ,and she immediately went to work to identify solutions,” Jennifer Serratt, assistant to BC’s president, said.
This program was developed for students who are struggling financially and scholarly because of the online transition. Each chromebook will come with the necessary tools to help each student succeed. This program was developed primarily for BC however, other community colleges have created similar programs to help their students as well.
“The Loaner Laptop Program is extremely beneficial to Bakersfield College students. I have friends who have expressed their struggles in accessing and doing homework assignments. Their grades have dropped significantly putting them at risk of failing their classes,” BCSGA Director of Public Relations, Erick Plata, said. “With this program, students can borrow a computer allowing them to triumph in their education. I’m fortunate enough to have my own computer, but even I, having access to a computer, the online transition process has been tedious.”
In order to ensure the safety of students and staff, BC has used the drive-thru method with the Renegade Pantry pickup option. The staff working in the Office of Student life practices regular hand washing, as well as wearing masks when giving the materials needed. It is strongly encouraged for students to do the same according to Serratt.
“While COVID-19 certainly elevated the urgency of this need, we know students need laptops to be successful as college students regardless of the course delivery method. We plan to continue to offer loan options to students and have also worked with the Office of Financial Aid to identify options to utilize financial aid dollars to cover the cost of laptops for students who qualify,” Serratt said.
Although this program was developed because of the current pandemic, BC will continue to offer laptops to those who qualify. BC will continue to provide the laptops based on the amount of donations that come in from the community. Donations and applications are being accepted through the BC website.
“I would like to express a tremendous huge thank you to Greg and Mary Bynum. They are true heroes to the Bakersfield College community. Thanks to them, the most disadvantaged students will have an equal opportunity to continue their post-secondary education,” Plata said.