NCCU gets stimulus funds for broadband, legal aid project

Posted September 18, 2010 1:00 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Central University will receive a federal stimulus grant of nearly $2 million to upgrade broadband service and expand access to its legal education programs, law school Dean Raymond C. Pierce announced Friday.

The $1.9 million grant will help the NCCU law school deploy broadband videoconferencing technology to 22 Legal AID facilities across the state and to four other state universities. The facilities provide legal assistance to low-income residents.

"Using broadband to reach under-served communities is an innovative and promising way to provide all North Carolinians, regardless of economic disadvantages, full access to the legal system," Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said in a statement.

The project also provides introductory law classes for high school students and legal writing seminars for undergraduates. The goal is to better prepare them for law school and to increase minority representation in the legal profession.

“We are humbled by the true benefits of this program – providing legal education and services to individuals who would not otherwise have access,” Greg Clinton, director of information technology for the law school, said in a statement.

In a press release, Sen. Kay R. Hagan, D-N.C., applauded the project, saying the grant will “help NCCU bridge the technological divide and bring legal education and services to North Carolina students and residents.”

The Puget Sound Center Foundation for Teaching, Learning and Technology in Washington state received a similar $4.1 million grant to expand or upgrade 39 public computer centers in Washington State.

The grants are part of $7 billion in stimulus funds being distributed to access to broadband services.