Need a free laptop or hotspot for your student? Here’s how parents can apply

DCPS says 43,000 laptops are available for families in need

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill) (Jessica Hill, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County school district is reminding parents to apply for a free laptop or hot spot for their child if they need it.

The district received $22 million to provide 43,000 student laptops and 10,000 hot spots through AT&T.

“The funding from this actually comes from people here in Jacksonville,” DCPS Chief Information Officer, Jim Culbert says. “If anybody has either a cellphone bill or a bill they pay at home, there’s a fund on there called e-rate and that’s where this money is coming from. So, we’d like to see those laptops come back to Jacksonville because they’ve been funded by people that are right here.”

The district received $22 million to provide 43,000 student laptops and 10,000 hot spots through AT&T.

While school operations have been back to normal since the pandemic, many local families are still in need and DCPS wants to make sure all students have the tools they need to make the grade.

Culbert says typically, elementary school students have priority. He says this isn’t just about helping students -- it’s about helping families.

“The idea of this laptop is not necessarily just for the student, but for anybody in that household that is helping that student achieve their educational excellence,” Culbert said.

To apply, go to the link to the Parent Emergency Communications Fund Survey, which is available in your parent’s FOCUS account. If you apply and the district approves your request, you should expect to get an email in the next few weeks. You’ll get a separate email later letting you know when the laptop has been shipped to your school.

The students who receive the laptops will each be supplied a copy of Microsoft Office 365. Students will be able to take their laptops home and will only have to return the laptops when they are no longer enrolled in the district.

Click here for more information.

Parents can apply through their FOCUS account.

About the Authors:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.