Computers and Textbooks
Most high school and college learning materials are now shared online, with tests and other assessments being conducted electronically. While almost all high schools and colleges have libraries that lend textbooks and computer labs for student use, textbooks are often in limited supply, and computer labs are often only open for a limited amount of hours.
As a result, being unable to afford a laptop or textbook can become a major academic impediment for low-income students, especially those who work to support their schooling. Many are forced to complete their homework on their phones, go to the library late at night to complete and print homework assignments, and/or use textbooks simultaneously.
We fund these materials for qualifying students to remove these barriers and level the academic playing field.
Books for Molly, a natural science student at U.C. Merced, now a PhD student at University of Alabama
Molly is now a PhD student in biomedical sciences at the University of Alabama after graduating from U.C. Merced with a degree in the natural sciences. While an undergraduate student, she became fluent in Spanish and spent one year studying at the University of Barcelona and traveling throughout Europe. When she boarded the airplane in San Francisco for Spain, it was her first time on an airplane. She has now published three scientific papers, passed her qualifying exams, and is well on her way to completing her PhD.
A computer for a collegebound rural student
This student is attending college in Los Angeles. While in high school, her undocumented parents were arrested while working and sent back to Mexico, leaving her and her two younger siblings to live on their own.
“I need a computer because it will help me out so much with my next steps in attending college. My first experience with college and not having a computer was awful. I would take the bus to the public library, often alone and late at night, and wait several hours for an unoccupied computer. Being awarded a computer will help me complete my assignments thoughtfully instead of rushing because someone else is waiting to use the public computer. I will have the time to correct everything and look at every letter and make sure I have given my assignment my best effort.”– anonymous student
This student graduated from her two-year community college and is working as an allied health professional.
A computer for Devynn, a graduate student in epidemiology
Devynn has completed a master’s degree and now teaches health-related and DEI (diversity, inclusion, and equity) courses at an Oakland high school.
Computers for first-generation collegebound AVID students at Los Altos High School
We upgraded six donated laptops for students at Los Altos High School who were in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). This is a global nonprofit organization that is dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other postsecondary opportunities. Today, AVID impacts more than 800,000 students in 44 states and 16 other countries/territories.
In several of the school programs we fund, AVID students are near-peer mentors to high risk younger middle school students.
Application excerpts from AVID students
“Last year, my parents made $27,900, so money is tight around our home. I work babysitting so I can help my family buy groceries. Any old clothing I don't use, I sell online and give that money to my parents. I asked my parents if there was any way we could afford a computer but they've said no; they need to pay our rent and bills. Even though it is a challenge for me to do my school work on a cell phone, I would rather help my family pay bills than be selfish and have them buy me a computer.”
“Having no computer stresses me. If the school library is closed, I ask a friend to lend me their computer for an hour or so. If they can't lend me their computer, I come to school at 7 am and use the library's computers which means leaving home at 6 am and rushing to school, so that I at least can use a computer there.”