Why fast, reliable internet is a requirement for higher education.

The higher education landscape has drastically shifted since the onset of COVID-19. By Fall 2020, 44% of higher education institutions employed complete or primarily online instruction, 21% used a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction, and 27% offered full or primarily in-person instruction.1

This means nearly two-thirds, or 65%, of all higher education institutions have relied solely or heavily on online learning in the past year, making access to fast, reliable internet connectivity and connected devices a basic requirement for higher education.

Unfortunately, many higher education students lack connectivity, which has created a major barrier to learning. Low-income students in particular report they don’t have good enough Wi-Fi at home to take online courses.2 New data shows that college enrollment has already dropped by 25% due to the pandemic.3

In times of economic downturn—as experienced during the pandemic—community colleges typically experience an influx of students given significantly less expensive tuition rates. During the pandemic, however, community college enrollment fell roughly 10%, indicating enrollment declines across the board in higher education.4

Low-income students in particular report they don’t have good enough Wi-Fi at home to take online courses.2

Reversing enrollment trends in higher education.

Reductions in college enrollment, in addition to tuition freezes and pandemic-related expenses, have created heavy financial and operational burdens on higher education institutions. U.S. colleges and universities suffered average revenue losses of 14% across fiscal years 2020 and 2021.5

However, there are technology solutions and programs that can help address barriers to enrollment and education. T-Mobile® for Education is committed to helping higher education institutions—from large universities to rural colleges and online-only educational institutions—navigate disruptive times and deliver on the future of learning. In addition, T-Mobile is working to help students afford college expenses. One of our initiatives is Magenta Scholars, a partnership program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, that will donate $500,000 to create 18 scholarships for students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

For more information on how we’re delivering what’s next in higher education, visit T-Mobile.com/HigherEd.

Increasing student engagement.

Staying motivated has been another major problem for higher education students. For example, only 42% of students completed coursework online during the pandemic.6 Providing more personalized and immersive learning opportunities can combat issues with motivation, dropout rates, and distractions.
Even before the start of the pandemic, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) have played a large role in revolutionizing the way educators teach and students learn.7 AR/VR technology can help students grasp hard-to-understand concepts in highly visual subjects such as astronomy. The immersive nature of AR/VR can also recreate historical experiences for students, placing them into key points in history. Higher education institutions are using AR/VR to help students imagine the future as well. For example, architecture students can use VR to explore 3D renderings of structures to help understand the impact of various design decisions.
With America’s largest and fastest, and now according to umlaut, most reliable 5G network,8 T-Mobile can successfully support a mixed reality learning experience.

Succeeding through technology partnerships.

While enrollment rates may start to recover as the nation recovers from the pandemic, higher education institutions always face the challenge of enrollment and retention. Working with the right technology partner can help higher education institutions make targeted investments that align with key priorities. Strategic investments can not only improve enrollment, engagement, and faculty and student satisfaction, it can reduce operational costs, freeing up universities to invest in their core missions.
The partnership between T-Mobile, Georgia Tech, and Curiosity Lab is an ideal example of such a collaboration. Together, we built a 5G Connected Future incubator program that supports growth and development of 5G entrepreneurs and startups. The new incubator features a 25,000 square foot Innovation Center and three-mile autonomous vehicle track to test 5G use cases such as autonomous vehicles, robotics, industrial drone applications, mixed reality training and entertainment, remote medical care, fitness wearables, and more. At T-Mobile, our unconventional thinking and programs create a foundation for higher education institutions like Georgia Tech to empower tomorrow’s technology leaders.9

Together, we built a 5G Connected Future incubator program that supports growth and development of 5G entrepreneurs and startups.

We believe that everyone succeeds when faculty, staff, and students are connected and have access to technology that increases engagement and enables powerful new modalities of learning. As your technology partner, we provide reliable internet access, the latest devices, and innovative solutions—all backed by America’s largest and fastest, and now according to umlaut, most reliable 5G network.

For more information on how we’re delivering what’s next in higher education, visit T-Mobile.com/HigherEd.

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