Published by Laurie Pender on September 20, 2017
Students Will Receive a Free Device and Free Wireless Service In First Year of the Program
Fayetteville, NC – September 19, 2017 – Sprint (NYSE: S) and the Cumberland County School (CCS) system announced today that 1,180 local high school students will receive the equipment and connectivity they need to complete their schoolwork from home as part of the 1Million Project. The 2017-2018 school year marks the first year of the initiative with more 180,000 students in 1,300 schools across 30 states. Every year over the next five years, hundreds of thousands of high schoolers who lack internet access at home will join and benefit from the 1Million Project. The ambitious goal is to connect one million students in that time to help level the playing field and help eliminate ‘the homework gap.’
“It’s encouraging to see that North Carolina students overall are improving their grades and performance on reading, math, and science tests since last year,” said Michael Miess, Sprint President, North Carolina, and South Carolina Region. “We want to see this trend continue and that’s why we’re committed to working with school districts like the Cumberland County Schools to help ensure internet access provides high school students the opportunity to better compete and succeed.”
Seventy percent of America’s high school teachers assign homework requiring online connectivity, yet more than five million families with school-aged students do not have internet connectivity at home.1 These students are faced with an enormous challenge as they are unable to complete their homework from home, search for jobs, apply to college and financial aid, or easily access the valuable information they need to succeed in school and life.
“We recognized that not having access to the internet outside of the normal school day is holding many of our students back from valuable opportunities,” said Kevin Coleman, the executive director of CCS’ Technology Department. “We applied for a grant through Sprint and were awarded 1,180 devices that will provide wireless internet to high school students in each of our high schools. We are also able to provide refurbished laptops to those who indicated they needed a device to use with their new wireless internet. We know that this will help level the playing field for all of our students and provide them with the tools they need to be successful.”
Each student participating in the 1Million Project will receive either a free smartphone, tablet, or hotspot device and 3GB of high-speed LTE data per month for up to four years while they are in high school. Unlimited data is available at 2G speeds if usage exceeds 3GB in a month. Those who receive a smartphone can use it as a hotspot.
To address ‘the homework gap’ on such a large scale, Sprint piloted the program with 3,750 high school students in 10 markets in January 2017 through the end of the last school year. Lessons learned at the local level helped to prepare for the national rollout this fall. In a survey of students who participated in the pilot, the vast majority (86%) said the 1Million Project improved their attitude toward learning and school, and helped them do their homework in a comfortable, convenient and safe place. Looking forward, 82% of students said the program positively impacted the likelihood that they will persist and graduate from high school. And, 80% said it improves the likelihood that they will continue on to college.
Schools or districts who want to apply for the second year of the 1Million Project, which begins with the 2018-19 school year, can visit www.sprint.com/1millionproject to learn more. Applicants will receive a response by spring 2018.
Anyone looking to support the program can visit www.sprint.com/give1mp to make a donation via credit card.2 Sprint stores continue to accept monetary and device donations. Used mobile devices can also be donated online.3 Devices will be recycled or resold with net proceeds benefiting the 1Million Project. Visit www.sprint.com/1millionproject for more information, and follow and support the program on social media by using the hashtag #1MillionProject.
About The Sprint Foundation:
During 2016, the Sprint Foundation, in partnership with Sprint, launched a new signature program, the 1Million Project, to help close the homework gap by providing free devices and free high-speed internet connectivity to 1 million low-income high school students (over five years) who lack home access to the internet. The Sprint Foundation will support the 1Million Project by purchasing new devices (smartphones, tablets, hotspots), providing educational resources, administering the program and funding program training for eligible high school students.
1 The Pew Research Center (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/20/the-numbers-behind-the-broadband-homework-gap/)