To help students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri State University’s Financial Aid office is developing Wi-Fi hotspots for students with a poor internet connection off campus.
Financial Aid Director Rob Moore said the university is working on a program to help students with online classes who have internet issues by providing a temporary Wi‐Fi hotspot device.
The program was announced on April 3 of this year.
To benefit from the program, students need to first fill out a COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Application. Students can also use the application to apply for other loans and services.
To qualify for a hotspot students must not have a “reliable internet connection” at home, according to the Office for Financial Aid’s website.
To qualify for emergency loans and scholarship aids, students must prove they have an “outstanding balance” owed to the university that prevents them from continuing classes, registering for classes or prevents them from graduating.
Once an application is filled out, the Financial Aid office will process the request to see if the student meets the specific requirements.
Moore sent out a brief through the Financial Aid office detailing the specifics of the hotspots. The hotspots have cellular access for up to six months and will be shipped to students' homes by MSU’s Office of Networking and Telecommunications.
Moore said when campus returns to “normal operations,” students in possession of a hotspot will be expected to return it.
Chief Information Officer Jeff Coiner said failure to return the hotspots will result in an $85 charge to the student’s account. While MSU requires students to return the hotspots, Coiner said it is considering ways to offer the service again.
A total of 100 Wi-Fi hotspots are going to be available for students through registration through the Financial Aid office, with each hotspot able to connect with 10 devices at one time.
Coiner said the hotspots will be for students off campus, due to MSU’s campus having widespread Wi-Fi coverage both in and out of buildings.
If students who request a hotspot outnumber those available, Coiner said a funding source would be finalized through the Missouri State University Foundation to purchase more.
Moore said as of Sept. 11 processes are still being finalized to provide students hotspots. Once funding and partnerships have been established, students will be able to fill out a request form for the devices.