As students and educators go online, the digital divide between low income, BIPOC students, and other students has never become more apparent. According to a 2019 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, only ¨between 54% and 67% of low-income, rural, African American, and Latino households had broadband subscriptions in 2017, compared to 74% for all households¨. This means there are students without any internet connection to access their school work. In addition, in many of these cases, there is also no home computer, and if there is, it is being shared by multiple people.
California, however, has stepped in to make online learning accessible to everyone. About 56,700 laptops and 94,000 hotspots have been sent to districts across the state so far and the California Department of Education announced that it will be granting $5 million to local districts to purchase 20,000 more devices or hotspots. This will be a huge beneficiary to Black and Latinx students specifically in rural areas who typically lack this access even before the virus.
If you or someone you know needs internet access or an electronic device as we go digital, below are some resources you can access. In this list, you can find different internet providers that have lowered their cost for students, along with where you can find low-cost computers. In addition to these resources, feel free to contact your college to see if they have a loaner program for students regarding laptops or other electronic devices. You deserve all the tools to have a successful semester!
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Other reduced-cost or free internet access:
- Health Workforce Initiative provides additional reduced cost and free internet access. This includes networks such as T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and California Connect.
- Spectrum Student Internet Packages offers high-speed internet for students and enough bandwidth to support multiple devices.
- California Department of Education website offers a list of other network carriers and their available networks for students and parents (last revised 07/28/20)
- Affordable internet flyer in English and Spanish from Internet For All Now (last revised 8/20)
Information on low-cost computers:
Northern California: in English and Spanish
Southern California: in English and Spanish