Until now, the Internet Essentials program has targeted low-income families with at least one student who qualifies for the National School Lunch Program. What’s always baffled us if that students’ eligibility was cut off the day they graduated from high school — just in time to cut them off from affordable internet as they go off to college and their expenses soar.
Now Comcast is trying to do something about that flaw in the program by conducting a pilot program in Colorado and Illinois aimed at community college students.
The pilot program will offer the low-cost, high-speed Internet Essentials program to more than 90,000 community college students who are recipients of federal Pell Grants in Colorado and Illinois.
Comcast’s basic Internet Essentials program offers qualified families high-speed (10 Mbps) internet service for $9.95 per month plus tax. Each qualifying family is also offered an internet-ready computer for $150 (including Microsoft Office, Norton™ Security Suite, and a 90-day warranty), and a free home wi-fi router. On top of that, they also have access to free digital literacy training.
40% of community college students are eligible for the pilot program
Until now, families qualified for the Internet Essentials program by having at least one child who qualified for the National School Lunch Program. Comcast obviously came to the conclusion that it needed a different criterion for community college students, because community college demographics skew much lower, meaning that a very low percentage of community college students have children who qualify for that program.
As a result, Comcast came up with a new way for community college students to qualify for its pilot program. It cited data “from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which stated that nearly 40 percent of students attending two-year community colleges receive the need-based Federal Pell Grants, and it pointed to a report from the American Association of Community Colleges showing that community college graduates earn more money and consequently contribute more to the economy.”
Experts seem to agree that this Comcast pilot program is a big step in the right direction.
“The Internet helps Illinois community colleges deliver coursework and support and communicate with students,” said Karen Hunter Anderson, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board. “Having technology on-site and Internet service at home removes barriers to online learning, giving students greater access to the schools, the faculty and a host of additional resources that are crucial for their success.”
We fully support Comcast in its efforts to help low-income college students. Giving them low-cost high-speed home internet can help them squeeze the most of their college educations. It will give them greater access to academic resources and better their chances of landing better jobs.
Here’s how to qualify
Do you qualify for the Comcast Internet Essentials for Community College Students pilot program in Colorado and Illinois? Check out these simple requirements.
- You must be enrolled in a 2-year community college (see the current list of eligible colleges below)
- You must be a current Pell Grant recipient
- You must not have outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old. (Oddly enough, students who’ve owed money to Comcast for more than one year old may still be eligible. Our assumption is that the company thinks it has better odds of collecting on the more recent debts.)
- You must live in an area where Comcast offers high-speed internet service
- You must not have had a Comcast subscription within the last 90 days
Community college is defined as a 2-year public post-secondary educational institution.
Applicants must submit one selection from List A and one selection from List B.
- Proof of Community College Enrollment plus
- A copy of your current or prior school year transcript, OR
- A copy of your current or prior year class schedule.
- A copy of your 2-page Student Aid Report (SAR) with Pell Grant eligibility from the current or prior school year, OR
- A copy of your Pell Grant Award Letter from your community college from the current or prior school year.
Is your community college part of the program?
Your odds are pretty good if you’re a community college student in Colorado or Illinois, because the list of eligible schools is lengthy. The list is subject to change, but the following community colleges are currently participating in the pilot program:
Colorado Community Colleges
- Aims Community College, Greeley
- Arapahoe Community College, Littleton
- Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs
- Colorado Northwestern Community College, Rangely
- Community College of Aurora, Aurora
- Community College of Denver, Denver
- Front Range Community College, Westminster
- Lamar Community College, Lamar
- Morgan Community College, Fort Morgan
- Northeastern Junior College, Sterling
- Otero Junior College, La Junta
- Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs
- Pueblo Community College, Pueblo
- Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood
- Trinidad State Junior College, Trinidad
Illinois Community Colleges
- Black Hawk College, Moline
- Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg
- College of Lake County, Grayslake
- Richard J Daley College, Chicago
- Danville Area Community College, Danville
- College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn
- Elgin Community College, Elgin
- Frontier Community College, Fairfield
- Harper College, Palatine
- Heartland Community College, Normal
- Highland Community College, Freeport
- Illinois Central College, East Peoria
- Illinois Valley Community College, Oglesby
- John A Logan College, Carterville
- John Wood Community College, Quincy
- Joliet Junior College, Joliet
- Kankakee Community College, Kankakee
- Kaskaskia College, Centralia
- Kennedy-King College, Chicago
- Kishwaukee College, Malta
- Lake Land College, Mattoon
- Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey
- Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield
- Lincoln Trail College, Robinson
- Malcolm X College, Chicago
- McHenry County College, Crystal Lake
- Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills
- Morton College, Cicero
- Oakton Community College, Des Plaines
- Olive-Harvey College, Chicago
- Olney Central College, Olney
- Parkland College, Champaign
- Prairie State College, Chicago Heights
- Rend Lake College, Ina
- Richland Community College, Decatur
- Rock Valley College, Rockford
- Sauk Valley Community College, Dixon
- Shawnee Community College, Ullin
- Southeastern Illinois College, Harrisburg
- Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville
- Spoon River College, Canton
- South Suburban College, South Holland
- Triton College, River Grove
- Harry S Truman College, Chicago
- Wabash Valley College, Mount Carmel
- Harold Washington College, Chicago
- Waubonsee Community College, Sugar Grove
- Wilbur Wright College, Chicago
A big college cheer for Comcast Internet Essentials
We’ve always been bothered by this gap in the Internet Essentials program. We receive countless emails and letters from college students bemoaning the fact that they’ve been booted from the program just as their college expenses begin mounting up and as they can least afford high-speed internet.
We’re confident that this pilot program will prove just how much community college students need Internet Essentials, and we look forward to the day that the program moves from pilot program to everyday Comcast offering.
If you want more information on the Comcast Internet Essential community college pilot program, call 855-851-3638. Also, CLICK HERE to see our page explaining the entire Internet Essentials program.
Source: Campus Technology