How to Get Access to Free & Low-Cost Internet
Last updated January 23, 2023
Having reliable internet as a high school or college student is essential, and finances don’t have to limit your access to it. Whether you plan to use the internet for homework, job applications, pay bills, or just cruise the web, gaining access to free/low-cost internet at home is a necessity. Here are ways you can get connected!
The Affordable Connectivity Program
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program to help low-income households pay for home internet service. If you or your family qualify, you could get access to the internet for no or low monthly rates and may qualify for a discount of up to $100 to buy a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
How can I sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program?
You can apply for ACP benefits through most internet providers or through the federal website (find instructions on how to apply here). Your application may require verification of your parents income, however if you currently receive a Pell grant you are eligible on your own. Be sure to ask about ongoing costs and fees when you sign-up.
Am I eligible for free or low cost internet?
Here are ways you or your household can qualify for ACP benefits:
- Based on your family income (your household may have to show proof of income, like a tax return or three consecutive pays stubs when applying)
- Anyone in your household participates in a government assistance program (SNAP, WIC, Free or Reduced Priced Lunch, rental assistance/housing vouchers, Medicaid, or similar programs)
- You receive a Pell grant
- If you or anyone in your household (including a younger sibling) attends a school designated as being “low income” - where all students receive free and reduced-price school lunch.
You can find more information on eligibility on the ACP website.
How else can I get access to free or cheap internet?
School and Campus Partnerships
Many school districts and college campuses have partnered with different companies and programs to provide students and families with free/low-cost internet. Depending on the program, the qualifications and process may differ. Connect with your school counselor or advisor to see if there are any programs available in your area.
When you’re out and about and in need of internet access, there are always a few places you can count on for no-cost internet. Public libraries and community centers typically provide internet and computer use to the public. School and campus libraries also provide free internet use to their students. If you’re on the go or need to work away from home, these community spaces are a good alternative to get the job done.
Don’t allow the rising costs of the internet hold you back from applying for college, getting that new job, or exploring your future. Text #HELLO to 33-55-77 for support to get you started!