30/09/2022

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Best Student Internet Deals and Discounts for 2022

6 min read

No matter if you’re tackling a college semester remotely, experiencing high school for the first time or in the midst of middle school, juggling the responsibilities of education can be tough. Whether or not you’ll be engaging in any remote learning, you’re going to want a reliable, affordable internet connection at home. Good connections usually don’t come cheap, but there are a number of broadband discounts available that might help ease the financial burden on you and your family.

Here’s where you should start: Federal broadband support

Before digging into the provider-specific deals out there, it’s best to start with federal programs that may be of use no matter which internet provider services the area in which you live or go to school. If you or anyone in your household participates in Federal Public Housing Assistance, the National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or other qualifying federal programs, you will likely be eligible. 

First off is Lifeline, a program that’s been around since 1985. It’s often viewed as a program for seniors — participation in Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income are among some of the qualifiers — but Lifeline is really intended to offer assistance for low-income households. That makes it a viable option for families with K-12 kids or for college students out on their own. Eligibility factors include income that’s 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines, or participation in federal assistance programs like FPHA or SNAP. 

Once you qualify, you get a discount of up to $9.25 a month on your internet bill. That’s $111 a year off your broadband costs.

If you qualify for Lifeline, you’re also eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which is a government subsidy program set up by the Federal Communications Commission. Qualified households will receive a monthly discount on the cost of broadband service from participating internet service providers.

You can use the ACP toward the programs listed below and it might fully cover your monthly charge. Or, you could also opt to use the ACP to pay for a faster plan with more megabits per second. 

Now, without further ado, here are some of your options.

Jim Lane/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

This program features up to 100Mbps download speeds for $30 a month or less for limited-income households within AT&T’s 21-state footprint. There are no contracts, data overage charges or installation fees, and AT&T provides a Wi-Fi modem free of charge. You may apply via income status or participation in Head Start, NSLP or SNAP.

Read our AT&T home internet review.

 

AT&T Home Internet

Cox

Participants in this program will receive up to 50Mbps download speeds for $10 a month. This is aimed at families with school-aged children (K-12) that receive government assistance (including NSLP, SNAP, TANF or public housing). Cox’s offer includes no contracts, free installation and Wi-Fi modem rental at no charge.

Read our Cox home internet review.

 

Mediacom

Mediacom’s offering shares a name with Cox’s low-income plan, but is a different discount program. It features up to 25Mbps download speeds for $10 a month or 50Mbps download speeds for $30 a month. No deposit is required and there are no contracts. Your installation, equipment rental and Wi-Fi modem are free as well. To be a qualifying household you must have at least one student in K-12 and at least one child in NSLP.

Read our Mediacom home internet review.

 

Trey Paul/CNET

Metronet is a midwestern company that provides 100% fiber-optic internet services to 13 states across the US. This regional provider offers a discount on its gigabit internet plan for students — $60 a month for six months ($10 off the regular price), then $70 a month for the next year. No term agreements are required to sign up for this plan, which also comes with unlimited data.

Optimum

For $15 a month, participants will receive up to 50Mbps download speeds as well as a free smart router and modem, unlimited data, discounted installation and no contracts. You may be eligible if you or anyone in your household participates in NSLP or is a New York City resident and attends a New York City public school.

Read our Optimum home internet review.

 

RCN

This program offers affordable internet for families and students in qualifying, low-income households. It features up to 25Mbps download speeds for $10 a month, with the first 60 days for free. There are no contracts, credit checks or installation fees.

Read more about your cable internet options.

 

Sarah Tew/CNET

This special program is available for students K-12 who are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program. The application process typically goes through school administrators, but parents and guardians can apply on behalf of their child’s school. All eligible students will receive 100GB a year and a free mobile hotspot for at least five years. There’s also the option to use the money value ($500 a year) toward a larger data plan and pay the rest out of pocket. Considering the average household uses more than 400GB a month, that’ll probably be the way to go for most families.

Read our T-Mobile home internet review.

 

Angela Lang/CNET

Through Verizon’s Fios Forward program, customers currently enrolled in the federal Lifeline program can save $20 a month on any Verizon Fios plan offered at their address.

Plus, if you participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, you may be eligible to receive free internet through Fios Forward. This would be a free 200-300Mbps plan, including all fees and router costs. You must have a Fios Mix & Match plan and be approved for the ACP to qualify.

Read our Verizon home internet review.

 

Verizon Fios

Sarah Tew/CNET

Xfinity offers college students a deal where they can get up to $100 in a Visa Prepaid Card, free self-installation and six months of Amazon Music Unlimited. Further details will depend upon your area and verifying your student status. Offer not available to students living in on-campus housing.

Read our Xfinity home internet review.

 

Ry Crist/CNET

This plan features up to 50Mbps download speeds for $10 a month and no installation fee for participants in NSLP, public housing, SNAP or TANF. 

Student internet deals and discounts FAQs

Will AT&T give students a discount on internet service?

AT&T does not have a specific home internet discount program for students. They do have a discount plan called Access from AT&T that is aimed toward homes with participants in Head Start or the National School Lunch Program.

This is not to be confused with AT&T’s wireless plans, which do offer discounts based on school or university eligibility.

Does the government offer free internet?

Not explicitly, but it is possible to essentially get free internet from the government by utilizing the Affordable Connectivity Program. This is a government subsidy program set up by the Federal Communications Commission that provides qualifying households with a monthly discount on the cost of internet service.

Once you qualify, you can use the ACP — $30 per month for most households, $75 per month for those living on tribal lands — with participating ISPs. From there, you may be able to select a plan where the amount of the ACP will fully cover your monthly charge. So, in a sense, you’d have free internet from the government.

Which internet providers feature broadband plans for $10 a month?

Cox’s Connect2Compete features 50Mbps for $10 a month, while Mediacom’s Connect2Compete is also $10 a month but for 25Mbps. RCN provides a 25Mbps plan for $10 a month with its Internet First program and Xfinity’s Internet Essentials plan is 50Mbps for $10 a month.

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