How to Get Access to Free & Low-Cost Internet
Last updated February 15, 2024
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, to pay bills, or to browse social media, gaining access to free or 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 that helps 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 the Pell Grant to pay for college, 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:
- Your family income (your household may have to show proof of income, like a tax return or three consecutive pay stubs, when applying).
- If 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).
- If you receive the 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 or low-cost internet. Depending on the program, the qualifications and processes may differ. Connect with your school counselor or advisor to learn if there are any programs available in your area.
When you’re out and about and in need of no-cost internet access, there are always a few places you can count on! Public libraries and community centers typically provide internet and computer use to the public. School and campus libraries also provide free internet usage to 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.
Have any questions about accessing free or low-cost internet in your community? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!