(WASHINGTON) 05, 2021 — Today, the president signed the Infrastructure and JOBS Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, into law, a bill that includes critical provisions to ensure that today’s low-income college students continue to have access to broadband internet. Higher Learning Advocates’ Executive Director Julie Peller made the following statement regarding these provisions:
“Higher Learning Advocates is thrilled to see that the $14 billion to further expand broadband access to low-income households included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill is now law. The Affordable Connectivity Program, formerly the Emergency Broadband Benefit, will continue to receive critical funding, allowing eligible households—including Pell Grant recipients—to receive financial assistance in the form of a $30 per month subsidy. This will help thousands of low-income college students continue to have access to broadband, an essential utility to help today’s students be successful in the classroom and ultimately complete their degree or credential.
Additionally, Higher Learning Advocates is pleased to see a provision to facilitate data matching among several federal agencies for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Such data matching with the Department of Education will ensure students who are eligible to receive the benefit don’t have to jump through burdensome verification hoops to enroll.
We are thankful to Congress for recognizing the importance of ensuring access to reliable and affordable broadband for college students, particularly for those who are economically disadvantaged or have difficulty accessing high-speed internet at home. This critical piece of legislation will make a meaningful impact in the lives of students throughout the country and we look forward to working with key stakeholders to ensure the smooth implementation of this legislation.”