- Utah-funded online preschool program UPSTART is partnering with Century Link to provide savings on providing Internet to 230 qualifying families already using the service provider.
- UPSTART plans to use the estimated minimum savings of $100,000 from the partnership to open around 150 new slots in the program this year.
- The program was created in 2008 by the Salt Lake City-based nonprofit Waterford Institute and has provided hardware and Internet services to low-income families who qualify since its launch — but being state-funded meant it worked with a limited budget, so legislators asked that it seek ways to cut costs and provide slots for additional children.
The deal between UPSTART and CenturyLink will now see the preschool program providing qualifying families with the ISP's "Internet Basics" package. If the expected additional slots are opened, UPSTART's total enrollment will be close to 5,100 children — no small feat for an online program that requires preschoolers to spend at least 15 minutes a day, five days a week, completing online exercises. According to UPSTART Director Dr. Claudia Miner, as many as two-thirds of the program's children last year came from low-income families lacking hardware and Internet service when they enrolled.