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Digital Divide: Going to College at 47 Without Access to...

[Photo courtesy of Creative Commons]

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Almost 2 million New Yorkers do not have internet access in their homes. In a new week long series we explore how increasing demands for a computer literate society is leaving nearly one third of the city on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.

 

At 47 years old, Eprain Cruz decided to go back to school.

Two years ago he was babysitting his nephews and niece. "They turned to me and said 'Uncle you're real smart.'  I felt good about that but I wasn't proud. I realized as they grow older I need to learn more in order to help them."

He ended up enrolling in New York's Lehman College. While it's difficult for students of any age to succeed in school while also working full time at a restaurant, Cruz has a bigger obstacle to overcome: he can't afford internet access. In today's learning envronment that is a problem.

"Everywhere I go is computers," he said.  "Hospitals, restaurants, where I'm employed, everything is technology."

Because of his busy schedule Cruz can't even rely on institutions with free wifi.

"By the time i come out of school it's like 10 at night and the library is closed," he said. "There is no way I can go to the library and work. I'm stuck in a sense."

 

Recently, Cruz couldn't finish an assignment for a psychology class because he had no means to conduct the research. It's difficult to search the web when you can't connect to it.