Before COVID-19, digital divide research among college students was scarce, reinforcing the idea that technology access was nearly universal, with few demographic differences. Pandemic-era research found some technical challenges, but most studies were conducted nationally or at research-intensive (R1) universities, indicating a paucity in research among underrepresented populations, notably at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI). This mixed-methods study aimed to assess digital inequities and pandemic-related technological challenges at an HSI, with high percentages of low-income and first-generation students. This study also sought to determine if findings were consistent with national and R1 research. We surveyed a representative sample of 2188 undergraduates and conducted semi-structured interviews with 26 students. Results showed many students had inadequate technology. Just 79% had the optimal combination of smartphone plus laptop or desktop, with first-generation, low-income, Black, and older students significantly less likely to have this combination and often having to share devices within their households. Internet quality significantly affected all coursework-related challenges, as almost half of students with unstable internet reported trouble completing assignments compared to 20% with stable internet. Finally, results suggest the digital divide may be more prevalent at HSIs than at previously studied institutions, while also offering insight into how these challenges affect similar universities.
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