Skip to main content

Affordable Connectivity Program provides vital internet access for Pell Grant recipients

Woman using a laptop.

Brionne Dillard, ’20 BS in biological sciences. Photo by ASU Enterprise Marketing Hub, Jill Richards, Heidi Easudes

September 28, 2023

Wi-Fi is more than just a modern convenience — for students, it’s a necessary tool to be successful in their studies.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, nearly “19 million Americans still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds,” meaning fast enough to perform remote learning, telemedicine and other activities in immersive virtual environments.

To help students gain access to crucial high-speed internet, the government-supported Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands. And the thousands of Federal Pell Grant recipients at Arizona State University and their families are all eligible for this federal benefit for their home, regardless of whether they have connectivity while they are on campus.

“The Affordable Connectivity Program allowed me to be successful in my studies by lowering my stress,” said Sara Bounds, a biological science sophomore at ASU.

“I no longer have to worry or stress about how high my Wi-Fi bill will be for the month. This program gives students a sense of security by making sure our technology needs are met.”

To be eligible for ACP benefits, students’ household income needs to meet or be below the federal poverty guidelines, or the student must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.

  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program.

  • Participates in:

    • Free and reduced-price school lunch program.

    • SNAP.

    • Medicaid.

    • Federal housing assistance.

    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    • WIC.

    • Veterans pension or survivor benefits.

    • Lifeline.

  • Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on qualifying tribal lands:

    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance.

    • Tribal TANF.

    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

    • Tribal Head Start.

Once enrolled in ACP, the student or family is assigned an application ID, which can be given to a participating internet service provider to apply the discount directly to their internet bill.

“We have the ability to help save the student or their family $30 a month, and that $30 a month really matters,” said Alexa Tarvid, ASU Experience Center’s Digital Navigator supervisor. “It makes a big difference to have that extra $30 a month available in a student’s budget; it’s really worth the trouble of looking into ACP and signing up.”

The Digital Equity Institute, through the ASU Experience Center Digital Navigators, is carrying out needed support for students, their families and other members of the community as they navigate this government application process. Students who are interested in the ACP benefit can call experienced ASU Digital Navigators to receive support and guidance on how to apply for the ACP benefit at 833-713-0636 or apply directly online at

“Students can apply for this program, and in doing so, relieve the constant anxiety of connecting to the internet,” Bounds said. “The application process is very easy, and the program confirms eligibility in less than five to seven business days. It was super fast and easy to apply.”