EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT PROGRAM (Free money? Covid assistance? Wifi Bill?)

Hey there all you Riverbats and money savers. It’s Arjana back with more information on…you guessed it! Saving money. I received an email back in May from the “US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION” telling me I was eligible for free things, and as any skeptical pre-adult, (Like preteen but 21), I sent it to my trustworthy adult adult, Karen Serna, and asked if the email seemed legit. Any email saying I can qualify for free money or assistance always makes my internal scammer bot light up, and it should make yours too! But after Karen and I read it we both decided it was legit and we should do some more investigating. Now, what was it?

As a response to the financial challenges related to the pandemic, Congress set aside money to provide eligible college students with $50 a month towards your internet bill. No strings, no hours of paperwork. It is simply just $50 a month that goes directly to your internet provider, all you have to do is fill out an application and contact your provider. Now before you go “Arjana I don’t want to go through all that trouble for $50 a month for a few months” First, this is the most simple assistance application I have ever come across in my entire life. Secondly, even if this program only lasts until September that is… count with me.. July, August, September..$150. And just because it’s temporary doesn’t mean that it will disappear in September, it is available until the funds run out so it could go longer. But even if it is only $150, the process to get set up is SO easy and simple. It is absolutely worth it. If you want to read up more on the program click herehttps://www.getemergencybroadband.org/

Eligibility depends on your state of FAFSA, and if you pay attention to what the Student Money Management Office recommends,  your FAFSA should be done (and if it is not, send me an email, arjana.almaneih@austincc.edu  and I will find you some help to get it done, even if it is late!) If you participate or receive any of these programs you are automatically eligible! 

  • You received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year OR
  • You experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 due to job loss or furlough AND have a total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers ORYou qualifies for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit OR
  • You received approval for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year

There are other ways to qualify, click here → Do I Qualify? For more information on eligibility information. 

Now that you know what it is let me briefly tell you my experience with the EBBP.

After receiving the email, I followed the link that said “Apply Now” EBB APPLICATION and took 5 minutes filling it out. I made a profile then there were only 5 or 6 questions about birth date, full name, eligibility proof (I just sent in a screenshot of my PELL grant).  And that was it. Within a few days I checked back and I was approved, I went to the list of “approved providers” and saw my internet provider, Spectrum, was not on there. So I then contacted my apartment because my apartment has their own set up with spectrum so we pay our apartment and they pay Spectrum, and they were not very helpful so I just got on the phone with Spectrum’s billing department and they were already aware of the program and asked me a few questions and that was it, all set up! The entire phone call took 2 minutes. 

So here are your steps:

1. Check out eligibility,https://www.getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/ If you receive or qualify or have experience (1) of any of the items on the list then,

2.Apply https://www.checklifeline.org/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&ebbp=true 

3. Give a few days to process 

4. Check back and once you are approved call your provider’s billing team

5. Receive $50 month off of your internet bill until September or until funding runs out! If y’all have any questions about the process I am happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge, pop your questions in here ↓↓ and I will get back to you as soon as possible! https://forms.gle/KU7kAFXCr4dkR2TW7