AC providing free phones, hotspots

RYLEE MOORE | The Ranger Representatives from T-Mobile help Amarillo College officials promote the T-Mobile for Education Plan on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Clock Tower on the Washington Street Campus



In the fall of 2021, Amarillo College officials announced they were partnering with T-Mobile to provide the T-Mobile for Education Plan for students, and started loaning out phones in the spring of 2022. The plan provides phones with unlimited hotspots to students who are in need of internet access off campus. “The goal is to ensure that students who lack reliable connectivity, which may put them at risk academically and personally, have an opportunity to connect,” Frank Sobey, associate vice president of academic affairs, said.

All currently enrolled students who don’t have dependable access to the internet are eligible to check out a free phone. Emily Gilbert, director of the Lynn Library, said students who are interested in getting a phone through the program need to take a photo ID to the library – AC student IDs are acceptable. Students also need to have an account in the library system to be eligible. Library staff members can help students create an account and get in the system.

Students can keep the phones as long as they’re enrolled in classes, but the loan has to be renewed at the beginning of each semester. The phones come pre-configured with Blackboard and AC connect. They also have unlimited data, talk and text, a protective case and a charger.

There has been positive feedback from students who have taken advantage of the program. “In our experience, the hotspot program has been really beneficial for students who did not have reliable internet at home,” Jordan Herrera, director of social services, said. “Students have told us in the past that they were no longer able to afford internet at their home, so they would come to campus to use our Wi-Fi before this program launched.”

Herrera said there have been approximately 100 phones checked out, but there are still 250 available. “I didn’t know about the program,” April Woods, a surgical technology major, said. “I think it’s pretty cool for those that don’t have that accessibility. Especially for accessing certain things on campus because not everybody has a laptop, or access to those kinds of things.” Officials say they are still trying to advertise to students that the phones are available. “Consequently, we have been working with T-Mobile and Amarillo College Communications and Marketing to get word out,” Sobey said. “Additionally, the program has been promoted in Badger Beginnings.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.