New program available to get free phones for your low-income students

Sprint Corporation is gearing up to provide free mobile devices and high-speed wireless connectivity to 1 million low income high school students around the country.

The new program is aimed at eliminating the so-called homework gap in which low-income students are at a disadvantage because they don’t have access to the internet, which is needed to complete homework, communicate with teachers and apply for jobs, scholarships and college.

“Education is the foundation for our society to prosper, and the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for learning. But it’s a huge problem in America that we have 5 million households with children that lack internet connections,” said Marcelo Claure, chief executive at Sprint, “Those kids have a huge disadvantage and we are failing them. All of us at Sprint are committed to changing this by providing 1 million students in need with free devices and free wireless connections.”

Goal: 1 Million in Five Years

Sprint said the new initiative builds on the company’s previous program in which it worked with the White House’s ConnectED to give 50,000 students access to high-speed internet. Sprint recognized that providing internet at schools is helpful but it isn’t enough. The company plans to give students cell phones, tablets, laptops or mobile hot spots with the student choosing the type of device they need. Reuters reported the device could be coupled with four years of free data from Sprint.

The goal is to reach 1 million students in five years time. Manufactures agreed to give Sprint the hardware for free, and Sprint plans to encourage customers to donate their old devices as well.

Addressing the Digital Divide

Citing data from Pew Research, Sprint said 5 million families in the U.S. with school-age children do not have access to broadband internet in the home. Low-income homes with children are four times more likely to not have broadband internet compared to middle or upper income households. As a result, their chances for success are greatly reduced as 70% of teachers assign homework that requires internet access.

“The 1Million Project is a powerful example of the role that business must play in society today to address our most pressing problems. Increasingly, people are seeking to do business with companies committed to creating social, as well as shareholder value,” said Claure. “Brands that create social value by making a meaningful difference in people’s lives are in a stronger position to attract new customers, recruit and retain better employees, and build stronger ties to their communities.”

Here is the link if you would like to get more information on how your students can apply for the program: