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A College Students Guide to Affordable (or Free) Wifi and Cell Phones: Home

This guide was created to help college students find affordable or free methods to get monthly plans for Wifi or cell phones.

Student Assistance for Wifi and Phone service

This guide offers information to low income access to the Internet and to phone service.  Some options may be free, while other options may be a discount or low cost service. It may depend on student income or other factors.  


Federal Programs to Get Connected to Phone or Internet Service

Universal Service Administrative Company

Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service. Eligible consumers can get up to $9.25 off the cost of phone, internet, or bundled services

About Lifeline

Lifeline is a federal program dedicated to making phone and internet service more affordable for low-income households. This benefit provides eligible consumers with a monthly discount of up to $9.25. Consumers living on Tribal lands are eligible for an enhanced discount of up to $34.25 per month.

  • USAC’s Lifeline Support Center helps you apply for the program, understand eligibility requirements, and keep your benefit current through an annual recertification process.
  • Lifeline consumers must apply for Lifeline and then sign up with a participating phone or internet company, recertify annually, and keep their information up to date.
  • Phone or Internet company enrolls you in the Lifeline program, manages your service, and answers questions about your service, phone or device, or bill.

Get started here. GET STARTED

Enhanced Tribal Benefit

This version of Lifeline is for low-income households on Tribal lands. Families can receive a discount of up to $34.25 per month and up to a $100 discount on first-time installment fees. Use the National Verifier application system to see if you qualify.

ACP – Universal Service Administrative Company

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a U.S. government program that helps many low income households pay for broadband service and internet connected devices. This program run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), helps low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices like a laptop or tablet.

You are likely eligible if your household’s income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, or if you or someone you live with currently receives a government benefit like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Pell Grant, or Free and Reduced-Price Lunch.

If your household is eligible, you could receive:

  • Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
  • A low cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP*

* Through a separate non-FCC initiative, additional no cost plans may be available to Affordable Connectivity Program enrollees. To learn more please visit Provision of a link to this initiative does not imply FCC endorsement of any particular participating provider.

Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. To receive the connected device discount, you need to enroll in the ACP with a participating provider that offers connected devices (Note: not every internet company offers device discounts.) Your internet company will provide the discount to you.

Check if you qualify and APPLY HERE

Karol McCool, Associate Faculty Librarian

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