Home » Free Internet » How to Get Free Internet for Students by Government

How to Get Free Internet for Students by Government

There are several ways to get free internet for students by the government. Through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government of the United States has several free internet programs targeting the general public. Students get internet through these programs as part of the households in which they live.

However, it’s not automatic for all households to get free internet from the government. There are several eligibility criteria they must meet to qualify for free internet from the existing Federal programs. This article will articulate the details involved in students getting free internet through their households.

Key Takeaways

  • Ways to get free internet for students by government include participation in Lifeline Assistance or the ACP
  • Students need an internet connection to access reading materials and complete their schoolwork
  • Schools, colleges, and universities may also offer free internet through on-campus Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Some non-profit organizations offer free internet to low-income households and can reach students in these homes

Why Do Students Need Free Internet from the Government

With the world becoming increasingly digitized, students need free internet to access books in libraries or complete assignments. Unfortunately, many students in the U.S. come from low-income families that cannot afford getting internet in their homes.

Intervention by the government makes it possible for students from low-income families to thrive through their educational journey. From the comfort of their homes, these students can access study materials via their phones or computers.

3 Ways to Get Free Internet for Students by the Government

Free Internet for Students by Government

The government provides free internet to students in various ways. Therefore, you must pick one, depending on whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria. The following are the main ways in which students can get free government internet:

1. Lifeline Assistance

Lifeline Assistance is an aid program by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that provides low-income families with free data, voice calls, texts, and smartphones. By providing free internet to entire households, the program caters to the needs of students by extension.

Through Lifeline Assistance, each household gets one discount at a time. Those who wish to apply for the discount must apply through the National Verifier.

The Lifeline Assistance eligibility criteria can be based on your income or participation in another government assistance program. Thus, households with annual incomes under 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines quality for Lifeline. Applicants may prove their eligibility by providing any of the following documents:

  • Social security statement of benefits
  • Federal, state, or Tribal tax returns for the previous year
  • Employer’s current income statement
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits
  • Pension or retirement statement of benefits

When applying for Lifeline Assistance, you must attach copies of the documents above. For online applications, digital copies of the documents would do just fine. Mail-in applications would require you to submit photocopies of the documents and not the originals.

Besides the income-based criteria, you can qualify for Lifeline Assistance by participating in any of the following government assistance programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

People living on Tribal Lands have distinctive assistance programs that may assist them to qualify for Lifeline Assistance. Some of the most prominent assistance programs on Tribal Lands include the following:

  • Tribal Head Start (income based)
  • Tribal TANF
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance

2. Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

Apart from Lifeline Assistance, students can get free internet via the Affordable Connectivity Program. But that’s only possible if one family member meets the ACP eligibility criteria. The ACP is a Federal program that avails free or affordable broadband internet to low-income households. Through it, students get access to the internet, which they can use for schoolwork.

It provides a $30 discount on a household’s internet bill or $75 per month for Tribal Lands residents. If you sign up for a plan whose charge is less than the discount, you’ll enjoy free internet for students by government.

The program also provides a one-off $100 discount towards the purchase of a tablet, laptop, or computer. However, the ACP device is not completely free since qualifying households must contribute $10 to $50 on its price. Therefore, students in qualifying services may get a subsidized internet-ready device.

With the ACP, each qualifying household gets one monthly internet discount and one device. Therefore, it is not possible for two people from the same household to apply for and get the ACP discount.

The qualification criteria for the ACP is based on the household’s annual income or participation in a Federal program. As such, households must have incomes of up to 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines. The actual income thresholds depend on the household’s location and the passage of time.

Besides, students can get free internet courtesy of the ACP if they or someone else received the Federal Pell Grant in the last one year. Also, they need to meet their provider’s criteria for low-income internet programs.

Another way to qualify for free internet via the ACP is participation in any of the following Federal programs:

  • SNAP
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Medicaid
  • School Breakfast Program
  • WIC
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Lifeline
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits

Students with families living on Tribal Lands may get free internet from the government either by qualifying for the programs above or other special ones. The following are some of the Tribal-only programs that can help you qualify for the ACP discount:

  • Tribal TANF
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Head Start (Income Based)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance

3. Attendance of a Government School

Are you a student in a government school? The chances are that the school offers free internet to the student population. Many government schools have Wi-Fi hotspots to which students can connect smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

Therefore, one of the best ways to get free internet for students by government is to enroll on a college or university with such services. You will require login credentials to access the internet via the available hotspots. In some designated rooms, students get connected to the internet via ethernet ports.

Some institutions even provide free tablets and laptops to students who need them for their studies. That essentially means you can get a free device and free internet at the same time. However, when using college or university internet, students might experience slowed speeds due to congestion.

Alternative Methods to Get Free Internet for Students

What if you do not get free internet from the government? Does that mean having to avoid doing your work? It doesn’t have to be so. There are various non-profit and companies with free internet for students. They include the following:

1. NetZero

NetZero can be a lifeline for students looking for internet to complete their school work and surf the internet. The company has been in existence for decades, providing high-speed internet for free to students across the United States.

Although currently operating like any other ISP, NetZero offers free dial-up internet to students and other clients. However, dial-up internet is slow, especially for watching videos, holding voice chats, or playing online videos.

The free NetZero internet may attain speeds of between 28.8Kbps and 56Kbps, which is a fraction of the slowest broadband internet. Besides, NetZero restricts access to free internet to only 10 hours monthly. For students who need the internet for absolute basic tasks, this is a great option.

2. FreedomPop

FreedomPop is one of the companies offering free internet with the world’s first 100% free mobile internet plan. It also offers free home broadband and wireless internet. Unlike NetZero, which has extremely low speeds on the free internet package, FreedomPop free internet can reach speeds of up to 1Mbps.

The FreedomPop free internet plan is great for those who need internet for the basics. For students, it is enough for accessing reading materials and completing homework. There are opportunities to upgrade to more data and higher speeds of up to 25Mbps.

3. EveryoneOn

EveryoneOn is a non-profit organization with the mandate to provide digital devices and internet to low-income families. Therefore, students living in the benefitting families have access to the internet free of charge.

The organization delivers free computers to those qualifying for it. It also trains people, equipping them with the necessary digital skills. Those who cannot find free internet for students by government should consider hooking up with EveryoneOn.

4. PCs for People

The non-profit organization PCs for People provides students from low-income families with refurbished computers. As part of its mission, the organization also offers affordable internet to those who need it. It accepts Pell Grant documentation from college students in need of computers and internet.

5. Human-I-T

Human-I-T was founded to help reduce e-waste by repairing old computers and giving them out to those in need. Besides providing low-cost electronic devices, Human-I-T enables users to find low-cost internet. Like any other organization, Human-I-T requires applicants for free internet to meet the laid-down criteria.

6. Mesh Networks

Mesh networks provide the perfect solution for those looking for sustainable free internet. A mesh network involves the interconnection of multiple wireless routers in a given location. It enables each router to get information from any of the other routers or nodes on the mesh network.

Touted “the future of free internet,” mesh networks already exist in several parts of the US. To join a mesh network, you need better tech skills since it is harder then signing up for an ISP. Also, mesh networks have slowed-down internet speeds due to the many hopes made from router to router. They are also less secure than traditional internet via ISPs.

The Bottom Line

Students need the internet to access reading materials and complete school assignments. For those who have no paid internet at home, getting free internet from the government is the best option. Luckily, free internet for students by government is available in various ways.

Those who come from qualifying low-income families can get free government internet through Lifeline Assistance or the ACP. These programs subsidize ISPs, making it possible for households to get free or reduced-cost internet. The alternative is to get free internet through any of the participating non-profit organizations.

People Also Ask

Related Articles