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K–12 Internet Access Program

Contact Information

Educational Technology

Dennis Small
360-725-6384

The K–12 Internet Access Program connects students in need to internet access at home with no cost to the student or their family.

Through the program, students whose families are low-income and are not currently connected to the internet can get connected through the end of the 2020–21 school year for free.

This spring, through the federal CARES Act, Congress provided funds to local school districts and state education agencies to provide support in covering emergency COVID-19 costs.

By entering into agreements with internet service providers (Comcast, Ziply Fiber, and Presidio), OSPI intends to spend $8.8 million to connect up to 60,000 students and their families to their coursework online. OSPI will also use funds to reimburse school districts who entered into their own agreements with internet service providers.

Information for Students & Families

Steps to participate in the K-12 Internet Access Program

To take part in the K–12 Internet Access Program, students and families need to sign up with a participating internet service provider that serves their local community using the offer code provided by their school district.

OSPI is compiling a list with a contact person at each school district. Families should contact the person listed for their school district to receive the name of the internet provider and the offer/promo code to sign up. This list will be updated regularly as more school districts identify their contact person.

To be eligible for the program, students and their families must:

  • Not have had internet connectivity in the home prior to August 2020.
  • Be able to show they are low-income and eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Who are the internet service providers taking part in this program?

The service providers under agreement with OSPI are Ziply Fiber, Presidio, and Comcast.

How long will this program last?

The program will be funded by the state through the end of the 2020–21 school year.

How will I know if my family is eligible?

Your family can participate in the K–12 Internet Access Program if you meet the eligibility criteria and live in a community served by a participating internet service provider.

School districts will contact potentially eligible households through their typical communication channels with parents and families.

What if my family has outstanding debt with the service provider assigned to my school district?

Outstanding debt to internet service providers is not a barrier to joining the K–12 Internet Access Program. Since families with prior debt to service providers are eligible for the program, it is important they identify themselves as a participant of the K–12 Internet Access Program when speaking to one of the providers.

How much will the program cost?

The K–12 Internet Access Program is available at no cost to eligible families. There is no monthly out-of-pocket subscription fees or installation charges and past debt to an internet service provider or unpaid bills are not barriers for families who choose to participate in the program.

After June 2021, service will end for families participating in the program. Families may choose to continue service if they wish, though they will assume full responsibility of payment.

Will the internet service providers be able to increase the price or add more services to my plan?

No. Protecting families’ consumer rights are critical components of our terms with internet service providers. The program is free of charge. There will be no fees for installation or equipment, and families will never receive a bill.

What information will be collected from me?

In order to confirm your eligibility, the internet service provider will request information from you about your income status.

The provider will share a list of eligible families with OSPI, the state’s K–12 education department, and OSPI will validate eligibility of a random sample. The data will be provided to OSPI through a secure access portal, and this information will not be shared elsewhere for any purpose.

What internet speeds will be provided to households?

Participating households who are able to have broadband internet service will receive service speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Please note, there may be times when local internet speeds slow due to capacity issues.

Information for School Districts

To be eligible for the program, students and their families must:

  • Not have had internet connectivity in the home prior to August 2020.
  • Be able to show they are low-income and eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Comcast, Ziply Fiber, and Presidio have been identified as the internet service providers to enroll families for direct OSPI funding. Here is what each can offer:

  • Comcast can provide its Internet Essentials program (with no check for outstanding bills) to families who live within the geographic base of their installed fiber (see list below).
  • Ziply Fiber can provide a similar program (with no check for outstanding bills) to families who live within the geographic base of their installed fiber (see list below).
  • Presidio can provide a choice of either internet service providers, offering several types of connectivity including 4GLTE WiFi connectivity (with no check for outstanding bills) to families, through providers in every district.

Please see the list of internet service providers available to serve each school district.

Through Form Package 994 on iGrants, OSPI will provide partial reimbursement to school districts, tribal schools, and charter schools that have paid or are paying for internet access for low-income students that did not have broadband internet access prior to August 2020.

Districts may use these funds to cover costs incurred on or after September 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Districts may also receive indirect funds on these costs using the Federal Unrestricted Rate for their district.

For any school district, tribal school, or charter school that has been or will be paying for internet connectivity for low-income students who did not previously have access, $10 of the recurring monthly costs (plus taxes and fees, up to $15 total) is eligible for reimbursement.

One-time costs (e.g., purchase of hotspots) are not eligible for reimbursement, nor can funding be provided for families who were already receiving broadband internet access prior to August 2020.

Districts should strive to begin the application process no later than October 30, 2020, as there are limited funds available.

To apply for reimbursement, districts should login to iGrants through EDS and apply via Form Package 994 – Reimbursement for the K–12 Internet Access Program. If you need assistance accessing iGrants or EDS, contact the OSPI Customer Support Office at customersupport@k12.wa.us or 800-725-4311.

Should districts apply now for reimbursement with an estimate of how many families they intend to serve?

If districts have their own agreements with internet service providers in place, they should strive to begin the reimbursement application process no later than October 30, 2020, as there are limited funds available. Districts may apply now with an estimate of how many families they intend to cover the costs of service.

Can districts later adjust their numbers if they end up serving more families than they estimate?

Yes. Page 3 of the iGrants package includes a budget worksheet where districts may request additional funding through a budget revision.

If two or more students are served by the same internet connection (hotspot, not a residential connection), can districts apply for funds once per student, or only once per household?

Districts should apply for funds once per household.

Do hotspot costs qualify for reimbursement?

The purchase of hotspots themselves are not eligible for reimbursement, but the first $10 per month (plus taxes and fees, up to $15 total) of the ongoing costs are eligible. 

If a district provided a student with internet access (via hotspot or broadband) in spring 2020 and is continuing to pay for it now, are the funds spent during the 2020–21 school year eligible for reimbursement?

Unfortunately, because funds are limited, funding for the K–12 Internet Access Program can only be used to support students who did not have internet access prior to August 2020.