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Oracle chips in to fight digital divide

The database software giant is giving an education grant worth $10 million to the United Negro College Fund's campaign to bulk up tech resources for students and professors.

Database software giant Oracle said it is contributing to a campaign backed by the United Negro College Fund that aims to upgrade technology education resources for students and professors at its member institutions.

The grant by Oracle, which is valued at $10 million, will be part of the fund's Technology Enhancement Capital Campaign, an initiative started a year ago with the goal of erasing the "digital divide" in higher education. The grant consists of a cash donation along with funds for scholarships, internships, curriculum, training and technology resources.

The campaign focuses on raising money for improvements in software, hardware, technical support and faculty development at the UNCF and at its 39 member colleges and universities.

The fund, which was not immediately able to be reached for comment Thursday, has found that about 75 percent of the existing hardware at its member schools is either obsolete or needs to be replaced. The organization also says 15 percent of the students at its institutions own computers, compared with 55 percent of college students nationally. Also, less than half of the faculty at the fund's member institutions own computers, compared with 70 percent nationwide.

AT&T, IBM and Microsoft have also contributed to the campaign.