Some Native college students find online classes to be a deal breaker

By: | May 7, 2020

When the University of New Mexico announced March 19th that all spring semester classes would move online and all students should move out of the dorms, 21-year-old communications major Hannah John went home. But she couldn’t stay long.

Tall Ponderosa pines are the major architectural feature of Vanderwagen, population 1,700. Sandwiched between the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo along New Mexico’s western border, it’s about half an hour away from Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Education school, where John’s parents teach. The school has been online since the 1990s, but at home in Vanderwagen, John’s internet is still spotty.

The percentage of households with broadband is lower in New Mexico than any state or territory except Mississippi and Puerto Rico, according to a November, 2019 report by the state Legislative Finance Committee.

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