State to provide free Internet access to eligible K-12 students this fall

Governor Kay Ivey recently committed $100 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to deliver free internet access to eligible K-12 students in their homes this fall. The State of Alabama will use the funds to purchase internet service for low-income households with K-12 students so children can participate in distance learning.

This will go toward the Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program, which will provide eligible families vouchers to gain free internet access. Eligible students are those enrolled in the National School Lunch Program at their schools. If a student is enrolled in the National School Lunch Program through their school, the child is already enrolled in the Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program.

The parent or guardian will receive a prepaid voucher by U.S. mail by the end of August. Then all the parent or guardian has to do is call the internet service provider of their choice, give them their voucher code, and sign up for service.

The vouchers delivered via mail will cover the cost of equipment, installation and high-speed internet service from the fall through December 31, 2020. Households will be able to use their voucher once, with one internet service provider, to sign up for service for the duration of the program. Eligible families won’t receive any bills and will not be charged any additional fees by their internet service provider. The state will handle all of the paperwork.

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Note: If a child is enrolled in the National School Lunch Program but his or her family did not receive a voucher by the end of Augustthe family call their school to verify they have their current address on file.

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