U.S. Department of Education and Civic Nation Launch Nationwide Campaign to Help Students and Families Cut Costs and Access Affordable High-Speed Internet

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U.S. Department of Education and Civic Nation Launch Nationwide Campaign to Help Students and Families Cut Costs and Access Affordable High-Speed Internet

The “Online For All” Campaign Will Kickoff with a Week of Action to Help Thousands Enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program
June 14, 2023

Washington, DC: Today, over 300 local and national organizations joined Civic Nation and the U.S. Department of Education to launch Online for All, a digital equity campaign working to close the digital divide by focusing on internet access, affordability, and equity for students, families, and all Americans. Online For All is kicking off today with a Week of Action to drive enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program. The Week of Action will bring together the federal government and over 300 organizations to raise awareness about the program and help eligible families sign up.

An estimated 28 million households in the U.S. do not have high-speed internet at home, and two-thirds of these households are offline because they need help affording an available internet connection. The Affordable Connectivity Program, created through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, significantly lowers the cost of internet, and millions more eligible households could still benefit. With a community of supporting organizations and trusted messengers, Online For All will meet people where they are and ensure Americans across the country are connected.

Vice President Kamala Harris also released a video encouraging Americans to sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program at GetInternet.gov.

“In our ever-expanding global community, access to the internet can no longer be viewed as a luxury; it is a necessity for every student and family in our country. No student should have to travel to a library, coffeeshop, or parking lot to get connected to the internet to do their homework or complete their college applications, and yet that is still the reality for too many students. It is vital that our students and their families have access to quality, reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to stay connected and engaged with their schools and each other. The ‘Online for All’ campaign will help meet that need for so many. On behalf of Secretary Cardona, we are proud to be a part of this dynamic initiative that will not only raise the bar in education, but change the way we look at access to information for all students, no matter their age, race, economic status, or address,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten.

The U.S. Department of Education will launch the Week of Action by rallying educators and advocates from the National Education Association, National Association of Secondary School Principals, American Federation of Teachers, and more to ensure their schools’ students and families know about the Affordable Connectivity Program and the benefits available to them. The Week of Action features hundreds of additional events, including:

  • U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will headline a virtual event today with educators alongside the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association of Education (NEA), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to provide them with the tools they need to educate families on this opportunity and keep students connected over the summer. The event will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET. Register here.
  • Boston, Massachusetts-based Link Health is leading the Healthcare Day of Action on Friday, June 16, with an event featuring a Veterans Affairs National Social Work Program Special Projects Coordinator at the South End Community Health Center in Boston.
  • The AARP is hosting a tele-town hall on Thursday, June 22 with Senior Advisor to the President and White House Director of Public Engagement Steve Benjamin to educate older Americans all across the country about the opportunity to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program. The live, audio-only program is available via dial-in at (855) 274-9507 and streaming here.
  • The Department of Education will notify more than 5 million Pell Grant recipients of their eligibility for the program, and that they can enroll without eligibility documentation.
  • Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten will send a message about the Affordable Connectivity Program to 84,000 school principals, vice principals, and tech coordinators across the country.

"Through Online For All, Civic Nation is bringing together more than 300 local and national organizations across the country to ensure the 17 million households that are unconnected, but are eligible for the ACP, have access to high-speed internet — because online is for all of us," said Jalakoi Solomon, Executive Vice President of Campaigns and Partnerships at Civic Nation. "Civic Nation is committed to ensuring everyone can get connected so more young people can access critical learning opportunities; more seniors can access healthcare faster and easier; and more Americans can find higher paying jobs and opportunities to work from home."

Civic Nation also released the Civic Nation Affordable Connectivity Program Pilot Report, which shows the success of community outreach in enrolling eligible households in the program. During the pilot period, grantees educated 39,335 people about the Affordable Connectivity Program; had 2,708 one-on-one conversations with community members; and helped 417 people start their applications and 210 people fully enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Grantees included: South Dakota Voices For Peace in Sioux Falls, who hosted regular office hours at the downtown library, community centers and after-school programs; Somos Tejas in Texas, who brought enrollment to 29 community events; and Vietlead, who served the Vietnamese community in Philadelphia and South Jersey by engaging community members in their native language. With the Federal Communications Commissions' ACP Outreach Grants distributing over $60 million to communities across the country this summer, this report will help prepare grantees and community organizations to create impactful outreach programming.

Online For All is supported by companies like Comcast, Verizon, and Dell, as well as national and local community organizations. A full list is here.

Click here for a fact sheet with more details on Online For All and the Week of Action. For further information, to join the virtual rally, or to set up an interview please contact press@civicnation.org.