OSPI K-12 Internet Access Program
Please note: this program is run through OSPI and the internet service providers, it is not run or overseen by the La Center School District in any way.
OSPI has extended the deadline for new eligible families to sign up for the direct payment by OSPI program to March 31, 2020. As additional families face economic challenges and some experience homelessness in the coming months, families of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals that do not have internet access can continue to sign up for this assistance. Along with this extension, OSPI has removed the initial requirement that families did not have internet access prior to August 2020.
The K–12 Internet Access Program connects students in need to internet access at home with no cost to the student or their family.
Through the program, students whose families are low-income and are not currently connected to the internet can get connected through the end of the 2020–21 school year for free.
This spring, through the federal CARES Act, Congress provided funds to local school districts and state education agencies to provide support in covering emergency COVID-19 costs.
By entering into agreements with internet service providers (Comcast, and Presidio), OSPI intends to spend $8.8 million to connect up to 60,000 students and their families to their coursework online. OSPI will also use funds to reimburse school districts who entered into their own agreements with internet service providers.
To be eligible for the program, students and their families must:
- Not have had internet connectivity in the home prior to August 2020.
- Be able to show they are low-income and eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
There are different application processes for the two programs. See details below.
Presidio Application Process
What Presidio Provides:
- Presidio provides 4GLTE MoFi connectivity in all areas, through all major and cellular carriers. These are Mobile HotSpots, which can either stay stationary within a home, or move with your student/family for connections wherever cellular connectivity is present.
- In some areas not served by Comcast or Ziply, Presidio provides broadband.
How to enroll:
- Linked here is the English enrollment form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FreeSchoolInternetWA.
- Linked here is the Spanish enrollment form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/InternetGratisEscolarWA
Equipment installation and troubleshooting:
- For equipment that has stopped working, they would work through the help line available for that carrier (T-Mobile for example) by contacting the help-desk-number that is available either on the router itself, or in their enrollment kit.
- For all ISP providers, (Comcast and Presidio) families are responsible for paying for lost or destroyed hardware. OSPI states this policy on their informational website, and this is also stated Presidio’s enrollment survey, family letter, and in the enrollment process.
Billing and Privacy:
- Families will not receive a bill.
- Information transmitted to Presidio, OSPI and to any HotSpot carrier involved is secure, not shared, and digitally encrypted.
Comcast Application Process
Comcast’s process is a little more complicated.
1) Contact Bill Hrdina either by email or phone (email@example.com). Once it is established that you are eligible, you will be given a comcast program code. These codes are personalized and private, they should not be shared with others. A letter will be emailed to you with your code and instructions.
2) Once you’ve been given your code, apply online or call Comcast to start the program.
Families can apply online at Internet Essentials at www.internetessentials.com. The website is available in seven language – English, Spanish, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Simplified, Arabic, Russian and Somali (select Language on the top right of the screen, select language).
- Call the Internet Essentials Support Team:
Families participating in the State program, can call the support team at 844.963.0178, 9 AM to 8 PM Eastern time to apply. This number is only for Internet Essential customers that have received a promo code from the school district, they will be required to provide their code to the agent. The agents are not trained on assisting with billing questions.
- Families are assumed to be eligible for the program if the district has provided them a promo code. They will be required to verify their identity. The attached letter clearly breaks down the options to verify their identity during the application process. I do want to be sure I call this out, a SSN is not required as part of the identification verification – it is optional.
- If applying online, let the application do the heavy listing. Most families will be shipped their equipment with a Self-Install Kit within approximately 5 days.
- For addresses that have either never had Comcast service or have not had Comcast service in the past year, the application will default to Professional Installation. This is when a technician will need to come out to complete the installation.
- The application may offer the option to pick-up equipment at a nearby Xfinity store if that is available (based on location).
- When the family/student enter their promo code they will see two offers appear, make sure to select the second offer that will say “State of Washington OSPI” where you see the Sponsor Name placeholder.
- While the student/family will not be paying for their service, the family will receive a bill with a zero amount due as they are set-up in our system as a customer.
- After the school year ends, students/families have the option to keep their Internet Essentials service and pay the $9.95 per month or cancel.