Pell Recipients Can Get Help Toward Internet Bills

By Nadia Ramlagan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – College students receiving Pell Grants are eligible for a temporary federal program that provides $50 per month, or $75 in Tribal areas, to pay for internet service.

Jessica Rosenworcel, acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, said too many college students, especially those attending community colleges, lack access to affordable and high-quality internet.

She said her organization is working with local partners across the country to make sure people know about the benefit and how to sign up.

“Meals on wheels and grassroots organizers,” said Rosenworcel, “to national non-profits, and key individuals who focus on digital inclusion, to help us spread the word. “

To apply online, visit ‘ GetEmergencyBroadband.org ‘, or call 833-511-0311 for a paper application.

According to the FCC, more than three million people already have signed up for the program.

A list of broadband resources also is available at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s website.

Rosenworcel said the program is just the beginning of future efforts to address inequities in broadband access.

“The emergency broadband benefit’s not like a windup doll that we can merrily send on its way,” said Rosenworcel. “It needs monitoring and it needs regular care.”

According to a report by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, approximately 60% of Black and Hispanic students face significant challenges in paying for fast and stable internet, compared with 50% percent of white students.

The report also includes data indicating student parents and caretakers are much more likely than their peers to share computers with others.