Student Financial Services

OU students urged to check eligibility for emergency broadband assistance

icon of a calendarMay 12, 2021

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OU students urged to check eligibility for emergency broadband assistance
OU students urged to check eligibility for emergency broadband assistance
Oakland University students can visit www.getemergencybroadband.org to check their eligibility for the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

Beginning May 12, Oakland University students can visit getemergencybroadband.org to check their eligibility for the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households.

“Many individuals have been struggling to get online throughout this pandemic,” said Dawn Aubry, vice president of Enrollment Management at Oakland University. “For those students in that situation, help is finally on the way from the Federal Communication Commission. I encourage students needing broadband support to see if their family qualifies to enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.”

If eligible for the program, a household can receive:

• Up to $50/month discount on broadband service and associated equipment rentals

• Up to a $75/month discount if the household is on qualifying Tribal lands

• A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50).

Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program defines a household as a group of people who live together and share money (even if they are not related to each other). If you live together and share money, you are considered one household. If you either don’t live together or you don’t share money, you are considered two or more households.

For example, a single household could include a married couple who live together, a parent/guardian and child who live together, or an adult who lives with friends or family who financially support him/her.

An example of multiple households could include four roommates who live together but do not share money (they would be considered four households and all four can receive the Emergency Broadband Benefit), or a student who receives a Federal Pell Grant and lives alone in a different household than his or her parents. In this example, both the student and their parents can receive their own benefits.

In addition, a household can qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if it has an income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, or any member of the household:

• Qualifies for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;

• Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;

• Experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020 with a total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;

• Received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year;

• Received approval for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year; or

• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program, and that provider received FCC approval for its eligibility verification process.

Applications will become available when the program opens on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. There are three ways to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program:

• Online with Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC): Use the online application (available in English and Spanish)

• Mail with USAC: Print an application in English or Spanish (instructions also available in eight additional languages). Complete the application and send with proof of eligibility to: Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742

• Contact Your Broadband Provider: Ask your provider if they participate in the EBB Program, or use this online tool to find a participating company near you. Participating companies can help you apply through the National Verifier or through their company’s application process.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will end when the fund runs out of money or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. Participating households will need to opt-in to continue receiving broadband services from their provider after the program ends. If a household chooses to continue receiving service after the end of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, they will be billed the broadband provider’s general monthly rate.

For more information, visit www.getemergencybroadband.org.

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