How to find free internet for students

How to find free internet for students

The way students learn has changed significantly in recent decades, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students of all ages — from elementary-aged children to university and college students — have at least some portions of their classwork taking place online. In the fall of 2020, only 23% of United States colleges offered their courses primarily in person. Meanwhile, 34% held classes primarily online, and another 21% offered classes in a hybrid format. [Source: EducationData.org]

This means access to reliable, quality home internet is a lifeline for American students and imperative for their scholastic success. But not everyone has access to affordable internet, and that digital divide between low-income families and wealthier households has only become more apparent during the pandemic.

This article will discuss how students and families with students can find free internet from quality internet service providers (ISPs).

Places for students to access free internet

If you’re a student who doesn’t have internet at home, there are numerous places in your community where you’ll be able to access free internet to complete your schoolwork.

Here are some common places in your neighborhood where you might find free internet.

Schools and universities

Most colleges and universities offer Wi-Fi for their students. So, if you need to get some work done and can’t log online at home, all you need to do is find a study area or other space on campus where you can comfortably work. If you also need access to a computer, most universities have designated computer labs for students.

For younger students — those in elementary, middle or high school — study shows that 99% of public school districts have high-speed internet connections to assist with their digital learning. [Source: 2019 State of the States Report]

Libraries

Public libraries are wonderful resources and usually they offer internet access to so many who go without it at home.

Most libraries offer the internet in two ways: computers connected to the internet that are available for use and Wi-Fi access throughout the library property. At this point, just about all libraries — 98% of them — offer free public Wi-Fi access, and more than 99% provide computers with internet access. [Source: American Library Association]

All you need to access the internet in most libraries is a library card, which is often free to obtain.

Major chains and cafes

Many major restaurant and coffee chains, as well as numerous retailers, offer free internet service. Here are a few common chains you can find in many parts of the country:

  • Starbucks: This coffee behemoth has partnered with Google to offer in-store Wi-Fi at more than 7,000 cafes.
  • McDonald's: More than 11,500 participating locations of this fast-food chain offer free Wi-Fi to guests.
  • Tim Hortons: All Tim Hortons in the United States offer free wireless internet. Guests can choose between two Wi-Fi services: Wi-Fi Basic or Wi-Fi Advantage.
  • Panera Bread: Panera Bread has long offered Wi-Fi to its customers, and the chain recently extended its internet access by launching Wi-Fi-enabled parking lots.
  • Dunkin': With more than 8,400 locations across the U.S., this is another great study spot with free Wi-Fi.
  • Barnes & Noble: This bookstore chain offers a free wireless internet connection to everyone that comes into their stores.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: This chain restaurant is another spot that offers a free Wi-Fi connection to guests.
  • Whole Foods: This chain is more than a grocery store. It also offers free Wi-Fi and tables for shoppers and those grabbing a drink or bite to eat.
  • Target: This store chain offers free Wi-Fi for guests to surf the web.
  • KFC: This chicken fast-food chain offers free Wi-Fi to guests. “It’s made with real internet because chickens can’t handle bandwidth,” according to its website.
  • Wendy's: Free Wi-Fi is available in most of the chain’s locations.

Airports

Most airports offer free Wi-Fi high-speed internet access for travelers. This internet is also available in public waiting areas where anyone can access it.

Trains and buses

Many trains, buses and other transit lines offer free internet to riders. Check with your local government to see if public transportation in your area has Wi-Fi in the transit centers and on their buses and trains. National transit options, such as Amtrak, Megabus and Boltbus, also offer Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi hotspots

In major cities, you’ll likely find public Wi-Fi hotspots in areas with high traffic — malls, stores, parks and government centers, to name a few.

Government assistance programs

Federal. state and local governments offer a variety of aid, such as public housing assistance, Medicaid, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and SNAP benefits, for low-income households. Some federal programs even help these individuals access the internet needed to live their day-to-day lives.

If you’re in need of this type of public assistance, you should connect with your local government — city, county or state — to see if they offer programs that help with internet costs.

One of the most widely available federal programs is Lifeline, which is offered through the Federal Communications Commission. This FCC initiative makes communications services, such as phone lines and broadband internet service offered through participating wireless providers, such as Frontier, more affordable to low-income consumers, offering them at a discounted rate.

Find out if you qualify for government assistance programs.

Frontier Discount Programs

Low-cost internet options for students

Beyond these free internet access points, it might be more affordable than you think to set up the internet in your home. Frontier offers internet service plans and packages for all price points and needs.

Frontier provides low-cost internet solution for qualified households.

Frontier® Essentials Internet

Basic internet from Frontier

Frontier’s basic plan offers internet access to new customers at an affordable rate. With internet speeds up to 9 Mbps, this plan covers most of your internet essentials and is ideal for common online activities — checking emails, sending documents and scrolling through social media — with no data caps, overage charges or hidden monthly fees. (There will be a one-time activation and installation fee.) Available plans vary by location.

Frontier FiberOptic Student Internet Plan

Frontier offers awesome student internet deals on the market for qualifying customers. We offer a special plan specifically for students. Our FiberOptic high-speed internet is great for any student working toward their educational goals.

This super-fast fiber-optic network lets you easily stream and download videos with no worries about interrupting Zoom calls to home, online classes, or TVs and movies. You’ll also be able to reliably share files and photos with professors and classmates.

Discover Frontier’s inexpensive student internet options

If you’re a student, don’t let concerns about affordable internet access interrupt your education. Frontier offers a variety of low-cost plans designed with students in mind. Our high-speed, low-cost internet makes it easy for you to take your classes, work on your assignments and follow your dreams. Check the availability of Frontier’s student plans in your service area.