The need for internet access has never been as great as it is now. With the pandemic on the march, many students have no other option to be educated than to use the internet to access either live sessions or assignments emailed to them or published on some sort of online platform.
That said, it is important to enabling all students to have access to the internet and as such to a proper education. As such, we decided to dig deeper and research free internet for students options.
In this article, you will learn all the ins and outs regarding the free internet for students, which will enable you to ensure internet access for yourself, your child, or any other student you know that finds it difficult to afford internet services.
Are you ready? Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Do All Students Qualify For Free Internet?
This is an important question. So, let me ask you, do you think every student should get free internet access? That would be great, however, since that is currently not possible, those who come from families that can’t afford to pay for internet services must have some sort of priority. As such, there are programs that are focused specifically on students from low-income families. Those programs can provide you with free full-time internet access.
In addition, there are many internet-providing companies stepping up and offering more affordable services during these unprecedented times. Even free internet access is offered by several internet providers, however, free services are typically limited to the first 60 days. After that, a relatively affordable plan must be purchased to continue using their internet access.
So the answer to the above question is that almost all student can get internet access for free for a limited time, however, to get a permanent free internet-specific qualifications must be met.
How Can Students Qualify For Free Internet Access?
As mentioned above, there are several providers that offer free internet services for 30 and up to 90 days (depending on a provider). Qualifying with those is very simple, in many cases, a teacher can apply for a student. We will take a closer look at those options in the section below and cover the details according to each internet provider.
Another option to get free internet for students are various organizations set in place to help those less privileged or financially challenged families. Each of these organizations has a specific set of qualifying steps set in place. In many cases families with a student participating in the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Head Start programs, and similar or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the ones to easily qualify. However, it is important to take a look at the details set in place by a specific organization or governmental program.
Free Internet During The New Coronavirus Pandemic
There are several internet and wireless companies that stepped up during this crisis and offered more affordable internet plans. As mentioned above, many are even offering free internet for 60 days or so. Some internet companies even offered their hotspots (distributed across the country) to now be accessed and used for free, as to help students and others in need of internet access.
We will go into details in the sections below, where we will take a closer look at internet providers and organizations that help to provide free internet for students.
Government Assistance Internet For Low-Income Students
There are various ways that the government is making its effort to help ensure students from low-income families to get free/discounted internet access. This is achieved either by specific programs, such as Lifeline Assistance and ConnectHomeUSA, which is particularly intended for telecommunication services or via various grants and programs where the government offers its support via specific schools or colleges.
Even when internet providers offer discounted or free services, they are often compensated and backed by governmental support.
The support is often state-specific, which means it varies from state to state, sometimes even from city to city. Some schools are better at attaining support them others, which can also benefit their low-income students, especially when it comes to free internet for students. If you look for government assistance on your own in reference to free internet, make sure to look under the ‘utilities’ category.
To get the most out of this article, make sure to go through the content provided in the next two sections, where you will learn more details about specific providers and organizations that can get you free internet for students.
If you want to know more about government free internet visit How to get government free internet
Which Providers Of Free Internet for Students?
Herein you will learn about the providers that offer free internet service. As pointed out previously, these services mostly come free for the first 60 days or so (depending on the provider and its offer).
It is also important to consider the fact that your location will also determine which of the providers are at your disposal. As such, you need to make sure whether a provider you are interested in is offering its services and that specific special deal in your area. This is normally easily confirmed by visiting the provider’s official website and locating the latest data or by calling providers customer support.
AT&T – Free Internet for Students
AT&T is a reputable wireless provider and is partnering with participating K-12 schools and colleges to provide free wireless data for 60 days. This data is delivered via school-issued 4G LTE tablets and other hotspot devices that enable students to connect to the internet by other Wi-Fi enables devices, including laptops.
There are many households that don’t have broadband internet service and they are the ones that can benefit greatly from this effort. Luckily those areas are typically within reach of AT&T’s cellular signals.
Moreover, AT&T also offers a low-income internet program known as ‘Access from AT&T’. New users that qualify receive two months of free services. Households that have members participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch (NSLP), or Head Start programs or who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are eligible. You can apply online using this link: att.com.
AT&T has decent coverage and is currently available in 21 states. AT&T’s most expansive coverage is offered in Texas, California, and Florida.
Xfinity (Comcast’s company) – Free Internet for Students
Xfinity has several special deals:
- For university students: Xfinity has stepped up by offering university students new customers a prepaid Visa gift card with $150. That amount covers roughly two months of service. This special deal comes with free self-installation and includes no upfront fees. It takes a few weeks after signing up and installing for the gift card to arrive. This means that you may need to pay for those two months upfront and will get reimbursed after the card is in your possession. In order to participate, you need to verify that you’re a student, which is done by uploading some relevant documents. Moreover, you need to be a new Xfinity customer. For detail on this deal, visit xfinity.com.
- For limited-income households: Xfinity also offers two free months of internet service for customers that qualify for its Internet Essentials package. This is a limited-income program for households that are eligible for public assistance like SSI, the NSLP, Medicaid, Housing Assistance, and similar. Moreover, the internet speeds are also being increased to 25 Mbps for both existing and new Internet Essentials users. To learn more about this deal and apply online, visit internetessentials.com.
Xfinity is one of the largest cable internet provider offering its services in 39 states. Its top serviced areas are Denver, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, San Jose, and Minneapolis.
Spectrum (by Charter Communications) – Free Internet for Students
Spectrum is another reputable internet provider that is now offering one of the best deals. Their deal includes free broadband and WiFi (up to 100 Mbps) for 60 days. This deal is available for all households with K-12 or college students that are not existing Spectrum service users. Moreover, the installation and prepayment fees are waived. The deal is applied as a credit for the first two months of service, after the initial 2 months, you get on a paid plan. It is not perfect, however, two months of free unlimited internet is not something to complain about.
Check out more for Spectrum internet assist for low income
Spectrum offers impressive coverage and is available in 41 states. Their service is predominantly concentrated in the cities of Dallas, Austin, Los Angeles, Orlando, New York, San Antonio, and Saint Louis.
Optimum and Suddenlink (Altice) – Free Internet for Students
Optimum and Suddenlink, both operate under the same parent company Altice. As such, it is not a surprise that are both offering the same deal – their new customers get free internet for 60 days. Households with students (K-12 and college students) who are not fortunate enough to have access to home internet service are eligible for the Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband solution, which is pretty amazing.
Optimum’s availability is quite limited as it operates in just four states on the East Coast, including New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. To enroll with Optimum, call 866-200-9522.
Suddenlink is more widely available as it services 20 states, mainly in the South — primarily West Virginia, Louisiana, and Texas. To enroll with Suddenlink, call 888-633-0030.
Cox Communications – Free Internet for Students
The Cox Communications company has a low-income internet program set in place. The program is called Connect2Compete. It comes with generous two months of free services ($10 per month after) and increasing speeds to 50 Mbps, which is quite amazing. All families with K-12 children who are eligible for SNAP, NSLP, are receiving Tenant-Based Vouchers, Project-Based Vouchers, or Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), or who live in Public Housing are eligible to apply.
Cox’s services are available in 19 states, with the best coverage in California, Arizona, and Virginia.
Charter – Free Internet for Students
To ask about their free options for students, make sure to contact the sales department at 1-844-488-8395. The company will then assess the student’s needs and inform you of available options and how to proceed.
These services can be all free, without any installation costs, no fees for boxes, etc., which is pretty amazing.
One of the downsides is that if a box is needed, there is either a wait for delivery (2-3 days) or the student/family must pick it up, which is first-come, first-served, based on availability.
Google – Free Internet for Students
Since Google is based in California, it is focusing on working with the local government to set up 100,000 WiFi hotspots. Those are intended for rural households and will be free for three months. Moreover, Google is donating 4,000 Chromebooks to students.
Google also pledged $800 million to support small businesses during this crisis.
T-Mobile – Free Internet for Students
T-Mobile announced that all plans that include mobile data will be granted free unlimited data for the next 60 days, excluding roaming. Moreover, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers are being given an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot and tethering services for the next 60 days.
Lifeline customers are given an extra 5GB of data per month for the next two months.
T-Mobile also took on a special plan to provide 10 million low-income households with free broadband internet as part of their contributions to “the homework gap” issue. School administrators can apply for the program by providing ZIP codes for their students in the school lunch program, and parents can also volunteer their schools. The schools then distribute the hotspots and devices, with T-Mobile providing assistance for setup and technical support. Households can get a free hotspot and 100GB of data over a single year, or they can pay $12 monthly for 100GB of data each month. Follow this link for more details: https://www.t-mobile.com/business/education/project-10-million.
Verizon – Free Internet for Students
Verizon promised to waive late fees and keep residential and small business customers connected if negatively impacted by the global crisis. This was promised back in March. They’ve also promised to upgrade data plans.
Wi-Fi Hotspots for Existing Cable Customer
As an alternative option, students may use up to 500,000 nationwide WiFi hotspots through the networks of Cox, Optimum, Spectrum, and Xfinity, which are available in public areas. In these times, many of those hotspots are free to use by everyone.
If you are a student seeking internet access or a parent or caregiver of a student in need of the internet, you should check with your local internet providers for resources available to you.
Organizations/Programs That Offer Discounted or Even Free Internet for Students
There are many organizations that are helping K-12 students get access to the online world. Primarily to help them connect to get everything in place to ensure that they are not left behind. By providing low-cost internet access at home and provide digital literacy resources, they help huge numbers of students all around the country.
Everyoneon.org is a national nonprofit organization that aims to provide everyone with a low-cost internet connection. Households with students participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) can easily qualify for discounts on the internet and even computers.
Visit their website to search for discounts. Simply type in a ZIP code and select “Participate in the National School Lunch Program”.
Human-I-T is another organization that can help you get discounted or even free internet access. They are partners with EveryoneOn and focus on helping customers choose the most affordable internet provider. They also help you apply for internet discounts. More on their discounted WiFi services, can be obtained in the ‘Can A Student Get A Discount on Internet?’ section below.
Many Schools Are Trying Hard To Help
Many schools all across the country are doing the best they can to support online education for their students and ensure that not a single student is left behind. Some districts are deploying WiFi-enabled school buses, which are parked in different neighborhoods during the day. That way internet access is provided to students in the area where the bus is parked. Many school districts are partnering with cell phone providers to provide students with LTE-enabled tablets and mobile hotspot devices, which are used to access online.
If you are a student seeking internet access or a parent or caregiver of a student in need of the internet, you should check with your district’s organizations, schools, or university for resources available to you
Can A Student Get A Discount on Internet?
The companies presented in this section are in many cases the same as those presented above. It is just that here, we focus on their discount offers, which typically take place after those initial 60 days of free services expire (if applicable).
- Families with students in K-12 grades who receive government assistance can get home internet service for just $9.95/month. This includes free installation and modem rentals without a deposit or an annual contract and is done via Cox’s Connect2Compete program. To qualify and apply, students must currently participate in NSLP, SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or public housing and have no outstanding Cox bills, unreturned equipment, or have held a Cox Internet subscription in the previous 90 days.
- Those who don’t qualify for Cox Connect2Compete should have a look at Cox’s internet emergency response offers. The Cox Internet Starter 10 plan, for example, is free for the first month and only $19.99/mo. for the remainder of the year.
DISH student internet discounts
For as low as $19.99/month, students, college staff and alumni can get discounted pricing on DISH standalone internet plans as well as TV and internet bundles. Those deals come with a two-year TV price guarantee. By using the student discount code ‘DISHEDU’, students also get a $50 MasterCard gift card as a bonus for signing up. Find out how to save up to 25% off on DISH service by visiting the DISH student discount site: planetdish.com.
Lifeline student internet discounts
Lifeline isn’t particularly focused on helping students as it’s intended for all eligible households (either based on a low income or program participation). It can get a household up to $9.25 off their monthly internet bill. Applying for a Lifeline discount is easily done online at lifelinesupport.org or by locating a provider that offers Lifeline support and applying with it directly.
Spectrum Student Internet Discounts
Students qualified for the NSLP, SSI or the Community Eligibility Provision may be eligible for Spectrum low-income internet through Spectrum Internet™ Assist. This brings eligible households high-speed internet with speeds up to 30 Mbps, unlimited data, and a free internet modem with no contract agreement. In-home Wi-Fi may be added for only $5 more per month. Learn more about how students and seniors can get Spectrum Internet at an affordable price. Here is the link to apply online: spectrum.net.
Mediacom’s Connect2Compete program has partnered with the above-mentioned EveryoneOn to offer inexpensive internet for students eligible for the NSLP. The Connect2Compete program includes a 25 Mbps internet connection and a Wi-Fi modem for only $9.95 per month.
To check your eligibility or sign, call 1-855-904-2225 or visit Mediacom’s official website.
- Discounted plan price: $9.95 per month
- COVID-19 Update: New families who connect will receive 60 days of free internet service
- More information can be obtained by calling (855) 846-8376.
- Data speeds: 25/3 MBPS
- Fees: No installation fee. No modem fee.
If you have at least one child who qualifies for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or receives HUD housing assistance and lives in an area where Comcast internet service is available but has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days, you may be eligible to participate.
Access from AT&T
- Discounted plan price: $10.00 per month
- More information can be obtained by calling (855) 220-5211
- Data caps: 150GB or 1TB based on type & speeds available
- Fees: No installation fee. No charge for in-home WiFi modem.
If at least one resident in the household participates in the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and your address is in AT&T’s 21-state service area, you may be eligible for this offer. You must also not have outstanding debt for AT&T fixed internet service within the last six months or outstanding debt incurred under this program. AT&T will provide you with the fastest of these speed tiers available at the customer’s address: 10 megabits per second, for $10 per month; 5 megabits per second, for $10 per month; or 3 megabits per second, for $5 per month.
Frontier offers a range of discounted student plans. Though, keep in mind that the discount only applies for the first 12 months. People in a wide range of situations, from college students to grad students to parents homeschooling their K–12 age kids are eligible. Visit go.frontier.com for more details.
- Discounted plan price: $14.99 per month + One-time cost of $99.99 for the hotspot
- More information can be obtained by calling (888) 519-4724
- Data caps: unlimited
human-i-t is a nonprofit that aids with the sign-up process for this offer. A household must be 200% or below of the federal poverty level or be currently enrolled in an income-based government assistance program, such as food support (SNAP), financial assistance (TANF), free or reduced lunch at school, Section 8 voucher, Medicaid, and SSI. To apply, you must show proof of eligibility.
Free Internet For Student Others Thing You Should Know
Can I use a mobile hotspot to study?
Yes, if your mobile plan offers you hotspot data. If this type of data is not provided as part of the package it can be non-available or very expensive, so make sure to check that in advance.
How do I protect my information online?
There are several ways to protect yourself, however, by far the safest option is to use a reliable VPN service. In addition, makes sure to keep your passwords safe and add a piece of antivirus software.
Can school students get free internet?
Yes. We have listed all of the available options above. Your school may be able to assist you even further.
Can college students get free internet?
Yes. There are plans that have college students in mind. Most of the options come with a 60-day free internet continued by highly discounted services. It is also worth checking with your university if there are any other free internet options available.
Is Xfinity free for college students?
Xfinity offers a special promotional deal as part of their response to Covid-19 that offers college students (and other new users) free 60-day services. After 60 days, the plan is not free.
Does Spectrum offer discounts for college students?
Yes, Spectrum offers students that qualify special deals.