Nonprofits, schools can receive free internet service, Wi-Fi Hotspots for at-risk K-12 students

Photo Credit: Connected Nation

Connected Nation (CN) launched an online application for the AT&T K-12 connected learning program, which is focused on closing the homework gap for at-risk students by providing free AT&T wireless internet service and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to students nationwide. Nonprofit organizations and schools that serve at-risk youth nationwide are invited to apply.

According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, nearly 17 million public K-12 students have fallen into the “homework gap” due to COVID-19 school closures. In addition, Bellwether Education Partners estimates that approximately 3 million at-risk students may not have experienced any formal education – virtual or in-person – since March 2020.

The program is primarily focused on impacting students in the following groups: 

  • Students in foster care
  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • English language learners
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students eligible for the Migrant Education Program
  • Other at-risk students who may be disconnected from formal education opportunities

AT&T is collaborating with Connected Nation to administer this program. Program limitations and eligibility information can be found on the application website, Connected Nation. All applications must be submitted online no later than 11:59pm Pacific Time on January 11, 2021.

“What makes this program so unique is that it is focused on helping the most vulnerable students across our country who have been disproportionately impacted since pandemic forced schools to close in March,” said Brent Legg, Executive Vice President at CN. “AT&T’s funding commitment will help children who are literally disconnected and stand to lose months, if not years, of their education.”

In addition to free wireless internet access and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, some awardees may also receive a new or refurbished laptop, Chromebook, or tablet learning device (based on need and subject to availability). Applicants may seek awards for up to 500 students per application. School district awards will be limited to students across no more than five schools. Awardees are expected to be announced in early-to-mid February 2021 (subject to change.)

“The next few months be particularly challenging as teachers, students, parents, and communities continue to adapt to the realities of the pandemic and the ongoing need for connected learning,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO at CN. “We have a responsibility to help ensure that all kids have the opportunity to learn regardless of their circumstances, and I’m proud that we can be part of the solution to help ensure that those most vulnerable among us aren’t left behind.”

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