Four Northern BC post-secondary institutions in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation are enhancing support for Indigenous students in response to COVID-19.

A total of $380,000 from the Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program will be evenly distributed between the institutions.

Coast Mountain College is among the schools that are collaborating on the project.

According to President and CEO of Coast Mountain College Justin Kohlman, the funding will be going towards laptops students can borrow through the library, hiring a part-time IT specialist to answer questions from students, and hiring students for summer employment that supports other students.

Kohlman said since most students are studying from home the need for technology and technology support is the biggest need the college is hearing from students.

“Some students don’t have computers at home or they don’t have a lot of experience working with computers and so the fact that we’ve now got these laptops they can use and we’ve got people to support them in using them is a huge benefit,” he said.

Kohlman also said the funding will allow the college to continue to offer courses in the region.

“Going from March until the end of this year for sure a lot of our courses are distributed and students are studying from home and knowing this money is there and that it is supporting the students enables us to continue offering those courses with confidence,” he said.

According to a statement, each institution will also receive academic mentoring and mental health counseling to help navigate the challenges of the pandemic.