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Guide For Schools & Students: Programs For Free Internet, Computers And Tech

Learn how your local schools can apply for grants for internet to help close the homework gap. Find discounted internet for households with K-12 students.

This guide will help schools, teachers, PTAs, and students:

  • Participate with non-profit organizations supplying technology and internet to schools.
  • Apply for government grants for technology, internet and educational materials.
  • Receive discounts on internet access, computers and mobile phones.

The Digital Divide is an issue that refers to the gap in information and resources between those that have access to the internet and those who do not. Similarly, the “homework gap” refers to the disadvantages students face when they do not have reliable internet access at home. These disadvantages act as a barrier for students of low-income families and rural communities as more schools and teachers incorporate internet-based learning into classroom curriculum. Often, this lack of access results in lower homework scores and consequently, lower overall grades.

A number of nonprofits and organizations have made it their mission to help close the homework gap. The programs and organizations listed below can help you, your school and/or your school district get the technology needed to better your education. 

Organizations helping schools & districts get students connected

Project 10Million
Project 10Million is a new 5-year initiative from T-Mobile dedicated to closing the homework gap. T-Mobile will provide 10 million eligible households with K-12 students free internet access and free mobile hotspots. Each household will receive 100 GB of data per year and get to keep a mobile hotspot for five years.

Eligibility is a two-layer process. First, your child’s school or school district must be accepted into the program. Second, your child must be enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Teachers and administrators can apply for their school. Parents/guardians can contact T-Mobile directly or reach out to one of their child’s teachers or administrators and ask them to apply. 

Project 10Million is also offering school districts discounts on data plans for students who need more data and on laptops and tablets for students.

The 1Million Project
This public charity has a mission to help one million high school students who don’t have internet access at home get connected. There are currently 225,000 students in 181 schools across 33 states that receive mobile devices and free high-speed internet through this program. Students receive a free smartphone or hotspot device, 10GB/month of free high-speed LTE data, free hotspot capability, and unlimited domestic calls/texts on smartphones for up to 4 years while still in high school. School districts can set restrictions on the use of the 1Million Project devices through a content filter.

The 1Million Project has also partnered up with the College Board for Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. With this partnership, 1Million Project students can earn additional high-speed data every time they hit SAT study goals.

High schools or school districts can apply to participate in the 1Million Project here.

Computers for Learning
Computers for Learning takes unwanted computers from government agencies and private sectors and donates them to educational nonprofits. K-12 public, private, homeschools or parochial schools may be eligible to receive free computers. Federal agencies report their excess computer equipment to GSAXcess, which educational institutions can then search and request computers through a shopping cart and checkout process.

Kajeet SmartSpot
Portable WiFi hotspots like the Kajeet SmartSpot makes it possible for schools to loan them out to students to take home. Each mobile hotspot device provides filtered internet access from one of the four major U.S. carriers for the most reliable wireless connection. Schools can customize the data plans, internet access times, and even suspend usage. Kajeet requires a one-time equipment fee and offers multiple data options for schools to purchase. However, qualifying institutions may be able to receive discounts and subsidies for their devices.

Kajeet SmartBus
Similar to their SmartSpot, Kajeet can equip your district’s school buses with filtered internet access. The average student spends 40 minutes each day on a school bus. Students can use that time to start or finish assignments that require internet access. Many of Kajeet’s SmartBus success stories have shown the increased productivity on the bus has lead to a decrease in disciplinary referrals.

Google’s Rolling Study Halls Program
Google is helping power school buses in rural communities with WiFi devices. With many homes in rural communities lacking internet at home and increasingly more online schoolwork, students can access the internet on long bus rides

Google is paying for services for school districts in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Schools and districts that currently use Google’s Rolling Study Halls program are:

  • Munford Elementary/High School, AL
  • Stemley Road Elementary School, Talledega, AL
  • Deer Trail School District, CO
  • Lexington County School District, SC
  • Berkeley County School District, SC
  • Clarksville-Montgomery County School District, TN

How to get EdTech funding

Help your school or district adopt new internet technology by searching forEdTech funding available through grants, subsidies, and other programs.

FCC e-Rate Program
This program is the first place school administrators should look to fund technology. The e-Rate program provides discounts on internet access to schools and libraries of 20-90% compared to regular fees. The discount will depend on the level of poverty and urban/rural status of the population a school serves. 

Kajeet EdTech Grants Database
Kajeet makes it easy to find EdTech grants in your area by providing a database that is searchable by state. Results will show the foundation or name of the grant, the grant amount, guidelines on how to apply, and deadline information.

This resource provides a database for preK-12 and higher education educators to find thousands of innovative grants and awards. 

PTA Connected with Be Internet Awesome
To encourage these Be Internet Awesome family workshops during the school year, Google’s partnership with the National PTA awards grants of $1,000 to PTAs in each state. A Be Internet Awesome kit comes with the grant which includes a Google Pixelbook, presentations, guides, and school poster to power the workshop.

How teachers can help bridge the homework gap

Teachers can help close the digital divide and homework gap by identifying the divide in their classroom and providing opportunities for students without internet access. The first step is to gain insight on how many students do not have internet access at home by conducting Student Technology & Use Surveys (STUS) at the beginning of the year with students or parents. Teachers may find that some students do not have internet access or are only able to access the internet through a cell phone that uses a monthly data plan. Once that limit is reached, students may not have reliable access until the following month.

Teachers can set aside a timeframe before or after school where students can access the internet on a classroom or library computer to get homework done. Teachers can even get the parents involved by demonstrating commonly used homework websites and applications the students would be expected to use.

If your school district can afford devices such as the Kajeet SmartSpot, it’s important to advocate for them by informing the administration about the number of students without internet access at home. If funding is an issue, teachers and other administrators can help by applying for grants and reach out to organizations to provide the technology.

Discounted internet and tech for households with K-12 students

Discounted Internet from major internet service providers
Students participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) can receive a discount on internet service from major internet service providers. Below is a list of internet providers that honor a discount for households with a student participating in the NSLP.

ProviderStarting Price*Speeds*
Cox Connect2Compete$9.95/monthUp to 10 Mbps
Mediacom Connect2Compete$9.95/monthUp to 10 Mbps
Spectrum Internet Assist$15/monthUp to 30 Mbps
Xfinity Internet Essentials$9.95/monthUp to 15 Mbps

*Prices and speeds may vary by location.

Organizations that help K-12 students get Internet access
Many organizations help K-12 students get connected with low-cost internet access at home and provide digital literacy resources.

A national nonprofit that aims to connect everyone with low-cost internet. Households with students that participate in the National School Lunch Program can qualify for discounts on internet and computers. Search for discounts on their website by typing in a ZIP code and selecting “Participate in the National School Lunch Program”.

Call: 888-268-3921 —
This organization partners with EveryoneOn to help customers choose the most affordable internet provider and apply for internet discounts from start to finish. Households can even choose to purchase a mobile WiFi hotspot for a one-time cost of $99.99 for the device and pay for a low monthly charge of $14.99/month. human-I-T’s mobile WiFi hotspot is a great option for those living in an area without a major internet service offering student discounts.

Organizations that help provide K-12 students with free computers
Internet costs are not the only factor in the homework gap. Even if a student can get internet access through a cell phone, many websites and applications were designed for a desktop or laptop. The cost of a computer can be quite hefty, especially in low-income households. Some families may not have a computer or can only afford one computer shared amongst all members of the household. That’s why there are organizations out there that help students receive free or low-cost computers.

Computers with Causes
Call: 888-228-7320 —
An organization that donates computers to K-12 students in need. Their online application makes it easy for candidates to apply.

The On It Foundation
Call: 305-244-6454 —
This organization provides free computers to K-12 public school students that participate in free or reduced school lunch programs within the United States. Free computers are based on availability. A parent or guardian must write to The On It Foundation to request a free computer and the foundation must receive a statement from the school confirming the student’s participation in the free or reduced school lunch program.

Discounted internet and tech for college students

Internet discount for college students
Eligible community college students living in a Xfinity service area that receive the Pell Grant may receive discounted internet through Xfinity Internet Essentials. Students would pay $9.95/month plus taxes for up to 15 Mbps. There’s an option to purchase a low-cost computer from Xfinity for $149.99 plus tax. As an Internet Essentials customer, students will also have access to 40 one-hour sessions of Xfinity WiFi hotspots each month.

Students that don’t qualify for the Xfinity Internet Essentials discount can still get a deal. Those living off-campus in an Xfinity service area can receive up to a $100 Visa Prepaid Card and Amazon Unlimited Music for 6 months. Once Xfinity verifies your university and address, students can then find internet offers available in their area without having to sign a contract.

MetroNet also offers an internet discount for college students. Students must attend a college or university within the MetroNet serviceable market and have a valid student ID to qualify for an extra $10/month off their 100/100 Mbps plan or an extra $20/month off of their 500/500Mbps plan.

Discounts from major cellphone carriers for college students

College students can get a discount from AT&T through their AT&T Signature Program. Students will need to enter their college or university .edu address to check eligibility. Discount will vary depending on the school, but students can get up to 15% off the monthly service charge of qualified wireless plans, including Mobile Share Plus, and discount on devices.

Another option is to get a student discount from Sprint through their Sprint Works Program, which offers exclusive savings to students of colleges and universities. Students canapply online and receive additional perks such as Uber credits or a Prepaid Mastercard to join Sprint.

How college students can get a free or discounted computer

Many organizations and universities help offset the costs of buying a new computer by providing free or discounted computers.

PCs for People
Call: 651-354-2552 —
Students can buy a low-cost WiFi hotspot for as low as $11.25/month. The 4G LTE hotspot comes with unlimited data and speeds won’t be throttled. There are no credit checks or hidden fees. The only setback is that this plan option requires your hotspot device to be prepaid. Students can also buy a low-cost refurbished computer from PCs for People. Students can qualify based on their income to participate in PCs for People.

Some colleges and universities offer free computers through grants and scholarships, while others offer free computers just for attending. Below is a list of colleges that offer free laptops:

1. Bethel University — Arden Hills, Minnesota

  • Offers laptops to all incoming full-time students.

2. Catham University — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Offers MacBook Air packages to all incoming first-year students and graduate students that meet a financial assistance requirement.

3. Seton Hill University — Greensburg, Pennsylvania (Catholic school)

  • Offers full-time undergraduate students MacBooks.

4. Stevens Henager College — multiple locations in Utah and Idaho

  • Provides laptops to undergraduate students and may be kept after graduation.

5. St. John’s University — Queens, New York

  • Eligible students that participate in the Academic Computing Initiative Program may receive a laptop while enrolled full-time.

6. Northwest Missouri State University — Maryville, Missouri

  • Full-time undergraduate and graduate students will receive a fully-loaded laptop.

7. Wentworth Institute of Technology — Boston, Massachusetts

  • Through their Laptop Program, this university provides every full-time student with a new laptop that becomes theirs to keep upon graduation.

8. Widener University — Chester, Pennsylvania

  • Free laptops for eligible engineering students.

9. College students can also get discounted laptops from Apple, Dell, Best Buy, HP and Lenovo with their .edu email addresses.

This page is for everyone who feels lost in the digital age. Understanding the internet and TV market is difficult considering how much it changes.
Here you’ll find information on the best ways to get internet and TV that can accommodate to your circumstances, answers to frequently asked questions about internet and TV technology and terminology and simple explanations to some of the most confusing topics related to internet and TV.