Funding, Grants & Awards

Comcast Extends Internet Essentials to Low-Income Community College Students in Illinois

Comcast has launched a pilot program to offer its low-cost, high-speed Internet adoption program, Internet Essentials, to more than 90,000 community college students who are recipients of Federal Pell Grants in Illinois.

Internet Essentials from Comcast provides qualifying families with high-speed Internet service for $9.95 per month plus tax, as well as the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150, free Wi-Fi routers to connect any Internet-enabled device to their home service, and access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person. Last month, Comcast increased the download speed of Internet Essentials service to 10 megabits per second (Mbps).

Comcast originally launched Internet Essentials in 2011, and since then it has been available to eligible K-12 students and their families. This pilot program extends the program to eligible community college students in Illinois, and the company has launched a similar community college pilot program in Colorado at the same time.

The company cited recent data on community colleges 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.

According to Karen Hunter Anderson, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board, Internet access at home is an important contributing factor to success at community college. "The Internet helps Illinois community colleges deliver coursework and support and communicate with students," said Anderson in a prepared statement. "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."

Additional information about the program can be found on the Internet Essentials site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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