Best Internet Plans for Teachers 2020
Since the internet has become such an integral part of our education system with the onset of a global pandemic, choosing an internet service provider who can meet your demands has become an important part of being a teacher. Below are some helpful tips for finding internet for teachers and educators that is affordable, reliable and fast enough for the demands of their workload.
Teacher Discounts for Internet Service
Many companies recognize that U.S. teachers spend a lot of their personal money on necessary classroom supplies. In many states, parent and teacher associations have started supply support programs that help purchase items like notepads, glue, pencils, wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels and craft supplies. While this is extremely helpful for teachers for everyday items, the other necessary resources teachers need are not always fulfilled.
The job expenditures of teaching, coupled with a usually humble salary, has inspired many large retailers and service companies to offer special discounts and programs just for educators. From large companies like Office Depot, Target and Party City, to clothing stores and local boutiques, companies are taking part in teacher discount programs. Internet service providers have also stepped up to show their support for teachers across the nation by offering some great low-cost internet plans for teachers.
Best Low-Cost Internet Plans for Teachers
AT&T, Cox, Verizon, Spectrum, CenturyLink and Xfinity are all offering special plans and discounts to teachers in participating areas. Here are some of the details on what the plans entail and how to take advantage.
AT&T Signature Program
The Signature Program from AT&T is easy to check online by simply entering your school email address. The discounts vary by institution, although most teachers should qualify for a discount.
AT&T also offers cheap cell phone plans for teachers. Teachers can get unlimited data for only $26.25/mo. Set up your phone as a hotspot, connect your laptop to your phone’s Wifi signal, and you’re good to go as long as you have a strong signal. It’s a decent workaround for a good price. Plus, you’re essentially killing two birds with one stone by getting phone and internet for the price of one.
Connect2Compete by Cox is a program that supports education, although it’s not specifically targeted at teachers. Households who receive government assistance and have at least one school-age child can get basic 10 Mbps internet for just $29.99/mo.
Discounts by Verizon
Verizon also advertises discounts for education employees, although specific details aren’t made publicly available. However, you can easily check if and how you’d qualify by entering your school email on the provider website.
Spectrum Internet Assist Program
Spectrum offers an Internet Assist program with certain discounts to students, teachers and low-income households. It comes with a free modem and 30 Mbps internet with no data caps or contracts. The program is open to beneficiaries of a few public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program.
CenturyLink Teachers and Technology Grant
CenturyLink has a Teachers and Technology Grant in place that provides either home or workplace internet for full-time classroom teachers with a total value of up to $5,000. However, it’s only available to those who live or work in certain areas of Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma or Missouri. You’ll also need to pay attention to the program’s grant cycle. It’s only open during certain times of each year.
Comcast Internet Essentials
Comcast XFINITY’s Internet Essentials program offers home internet at 25 Mbps for just $9.95/mo. You’ll also find student and teacher discounts on desktops, laptops, internet service and even Microsoft Office.
Programs like this can add up to significant savings throughout the year. Regardless of which ISP you decide to go with, make sure you ask one of their representatives about their teacher discount program to see if you qualify.
Connection Speeds and Data Caps
Two other important areas to look into before choosing which internet will fuel your classroom or home office are connection speeds and data caps. Whether you are streaming instructional YouTube videos or downloading large files of lesson plans – having a connection fast enough to meet your demands is a must.
Alternately, in an effort to save additional money each month, don’t sign up for a plan with a connection speed that is more than you need. For average everyday use and streaming on one or two devices at a time, a plan with at least 25 Mbps should be adequate. However, for multi-person homes and offices, you might need download speeds of anywhere from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps depending on the number of devices.
Data caps are often overlooked when choosing an internet plan, but this, too, is an area you should weigh before signing any contract. While some ISPs offer an unlimited internet plan with no data caps, these plans are often very costly.
Honestly, it’s rare that you should need one. Look for a plan that has a generous data supply, but no need for it to be unlimited. Also, make sure you understand their overage fees and price changes should you ever go over the data one month.
Once you choose your internet plan, you should review your usage and your billing statement at least quarterly. This ensures that you aren’t going over and paying hefty fees. It also lets you see if you are ending up with a lot of excess data that you can do without. If you find yourself showing a lot of unused data at the end of each billing period, downgrade your plan to save more money each month.
Don’t Let it Lapse
Like any discount offered by a major corporation, there is usually a termination date where the introductory rate or discount expires; this is when you will start to slowly see your bill climb.
In order to avoid this scenario, make a note for yourself to check in with your ISP once a year. This is to ensure your teacher’s discount is currently in effect and that it's not about to expire. Most ISPs allow you to easily renew your teacher discount over the phone, but may require some documentation or proof of your current teaching status.
Being a teacher is hard work, requiring constant vigilance, patience and seemingly endless work hours. Where possible, we think teachers should utilize discount programs and aid that is available to them. Before settling on an internet provider in your area, check into whether they offer a teacher discount and if you qualify.