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Higher Education Roundup: Services for Students in Fall 2020

July 22, 2020, @ 11:33 AM

As colleges across the country shift to an online and remote instruction model, many students and their families are facing challenges to adjusting to this new method of learning. Maintaining access for students during this time can prove challenging, but several companies continue to step forward to offer free or discounted services. See below for our latest roundup of these offerings, and send any additional ones to info@lvaic.org to keep the list growing.

Travel and Transportation Discounts

The website TheSimpleDollar.com lists a total of 60 student discounts for travel and transportation. The Student Advantage Discount Card is another opportunity to save up to 10% when using coach buses like Greyhound. Coach USA discounts also provides discounts for similar services.

SafeLink Wireless Offers Low-Cost Mobile Phone Services

SafeLink is a mobile phone service provider for individuals enrolled in government support programs, such as Medicaid and food stamp programs. The actual network depends on the region in which the individual lives. All services are provided on a no-contract basis through TracFone Wireless, Inc. More information, including checking availability and submitting the proper application documentation, is available on the SafeLink website.

Internet Essentials Provides Low-Cost Computers and Laptops

Internet Essentials, the low-cost internet package available for low-income families through Comcast, already offers discounted laptops and desktop computers. Once you are an Internet Essentials customer, you have the option to purchase one. The steps include completing a brief online application and then placing the order online or over the phone. Specifics regarding how to take advantage of this program are available on the Internet Essentials website.

Comcast is Opening Xfinity WiFi Network Nationally and Offering Unlimited Data for Free

This initiative includes offering free Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country and pausing all data plans. The company is going even further by eliminating late fees and offering their Internet Essentials plan for free to new customers for the first 60 days. The company also announced its efforts to ensure added support during this time to ensure the networks remain online and functional. Xfinity is offering eligible university students who live in their service areas and need internet service a Visa prepaid card worth about two months of internet service with no upfront fees or installation costs. They’ve also added additional cyber security features. Additional details are available on the Comcast website.

Mobile Carriers are Offering Bill Forgiveness and Temporary Unlimited Data

National carriers, are offering both bill forgiveness and temporary unlimited data for all customers. AT&T is automatically waiving home Internet data overage charges for new and existing AT&T Internet customers through September 30. Additional details, including safety measures, cyber security, and more are available on the AT&T website. Verizon is offering customers who signed up for the Pledge to automatically be enrolled in their Stay Connected repayment program to provide options to stay connected. They are also offering some free programming through September 30. Additional details are available on the Verizon website.

Free WiFi Hotspots for Online Learning

Atlantic Broadband and C-Spire are offering free WiFi hotspots to their coverage areas. Atlantic Broadband covers CT, MD, ME, NH, PA, SC, VA while C-Spire offers broader national coverage. Visit the Atlantic Broadband or C-Spire websites to learn more.

Regular Student Technology Discounts Continue

Companies like JourneyEd, Corel, and Academic Superstore offer regular discounts for students and educators purchasing software, such as Microsoft, Adobe, and more. Norton Software offers student discounts for virus protection. While most discounted text book offerings were limited to the Spring 2020 semester, more regular text book discounts are still available through Guilford Press, Kindle Store, Slugbooks.com, and Barnes and Noble for college students.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources on Campus and Online

Even if taking courses remotely or online, campus student life offices are continuing their commitments to provide services for students. College Wellness and Health Centers are offering teletherapy services for counseling, therapy, outreach, and consultation. Check with your campus student life website to confirm the details regarding how to connect with these services.

Accessing Resources on Campus

Colleges and universities operating online are still open and providing all services previously available for students. The campus library, career services and development, academic resource centers, advising offices, religious life, and counseling offices are all taking appointments and providing services at least virtually in some capacity. Check with your campus student life website to confirm the details regarding how to connect with these services.

As companies recognize the urgency for remaining flexible during these uncertain times, surely others will adjust their offerings and extend discounts. While many have been suddenly uprooted and are learning how to change work processes and learn with the new remote model, we will continue to curate ways to ease the transition. Check this page regularly for updates.

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