New Report Shows 16.9 Million Students Still Without Home Internet Access

A new report from Future Ready Schools shows 16.9 million students (or 8.4 million households) across the country lack internet access from home.

Over 55 million students learning virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and almost a third fall into what is being called the “homework gap,” which results from students being unable to complete assignments due to lack of access to internet services.

From Future Ready Schools:

A study from Michigan State University finds that students who do not have home internet access or who rely solely on a mobile plan for their internet access spend more time on their homework, have lower grade point averages, and have weaker digital skills, even after controlling for socioeconomic factors that potentially influence academic performance(2). In fact, “[t]he gap in digital skills between students with no home access or cell phone only and those with fast or slow home Internet access is equivalent to the gap in digital skills between 8th and 11th grade students,” according to the study.(3)

Lack of high-speed internet access at home disproportionately affects children of color, with Black households making up 14.4 percent (Latino: 20.9 percent) of all households with children, but 19.5 percent (Latino: 28.7 percent) of households without high-speed internet access.

In Maryland specifically, 16% of households lack high-speed home internet, leaving 220,714 children in the “homework gap.” This is broken down into 35% non-metro “rural” households (14,337 children) and 16% metro households (203,757 children) without high-speed home internet.

The report calls for Congress to invest $6.8 billion in order to close both the home internet and device gaps.