Free Resources for Online College Students During COVID-19

by Morgan Rogers

As “safer-at-home” orders continue throughout the United States and schools are temporarily closing their doors, students who once relied on campus resources to succeed are struggling to adapt to this new season. But while many physical spaces have closed to the public, companies across the country are stepping up to fill those needs. From maintaining your physical health to staying on top of your classes, there are myriad free resources to support your online college experience.

Education Resources

Free Internet Service

If you’re worried about how you’ll access your online classes without public hotspots, Comcast is offering free internet service to new customers who qualify as “low-income” for 60 days. They’re also providing unlimited data and higher internet speed to their customers during the pandemic. If you don’t fall within this qualification or aren’t within the Comcast service area, Charter Communications is also offering free internet service to households with K-12 or college students.

Adobe Creative Suite and Portfolio

Adobe is providing free at-home access to its Creative Suite to students whose schools (both K-12 and higher education) provide lab access on campus. This resource is available through May 31 and can be accessed by requesting it from your school. If you are an APU student who would like to request access, fill out an Adobe Request form.

College students can also take advantage of Adobe Portfolio, the website-building software designed for creating online portfolios. This offer is separate from the Creative Suite, includes unlimited pages and hosting, and is available for 60 days.

Video Conferencing

While you may already be using a video conferencing platform, it’s worth recognizing that there are multiple software available, and many are giving complimentary access to premium services as students are required to go digital. As you start setting up virtual meetings for group projects, or if you just want to check in with friends and family, look into Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, and Adobe Connect, which is offering free access through July 1.

Online Library Resources

Although many public libraries are closed temporarily, their online options are still active and accessible. Don’t have a library card? Use the Libby by Overdrive mobile app to get an instant library card and access thousands of free ebooks and audiobooks. You can also access free books, movies, software, and more from libraries around the world through Internet Archive.

If you’re a current APU student, you can also continue to access your university library resources, which includes online databases and Libguides, from home. For more help during COVID-19, access the Library Response to COVID-19 Website.

SoftMaker Productivity Suite

SoftMaker Office is essentially a Microsoft Office alternative, and for the next six months, they’re offering free access to their entire suite to students of all ages. Plus, they’ve made it clear that this resource will be maintained throughout the length of the pandemic, so the offer may be extended if needed.

Health and Fitness Resources

Your health is extremely important, and it’s easy to let it fall to the wayside when you’re cooped up at home. The following fitness companies are just a few who are providing free access to their resources to help you maintain your physical and mental health while social distancing.

Additional Resources

RightNow Media

This Bible study streaming service is offering free access to a limited video library to support the spiritual development of those affected by the Coronavirus. You can also check with your church or school to see if they offer full access to the RightNow Media complete library.

U-Haul 30-Day Storage

The moving and storage company is providing 30 free days of self-storage, subject to availability, to college students who have been impacted by COVID-19. This offer includes free usage of U-Box portable moving and storage containers.

The Work Learning Platform

This creative research platform from Cannes Lion allows students to explore some of pop culture’s most powerful pieces of creative work, from beauty campaigns to individual projects. You’ll see the inspiration behind them and how they were developed.

Virtual Museum Tours

Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2,500 museums around the world to offer thousands of virtual tours and online exhibits, including some from the Van Gogh Museum in Paris, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Use these resources to supplement your online classes and dig deeper into cultural history.

Adapting to a new reality can be challenging, but there are many ways to find support. Learn more about resources available to APU students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morgan Rogers is an editor in the Office of University Relations.