CDE partners with Apple and T-Mobile to offer discounted devices

The California Department of Education announced Aug. 5 a partnership with Apple and T-Mobile to aid in closing the state’s digital divide. The partnership comes at a key time when estimates have identified 700,000 students who need a device and 300,000 who need an internet connection. With more than 95 percent of the state’s students beginning the 2020–21 year solely with distance learning, the need is dire.

“As schools are working around the clock to prepare students and families for virtual learning, I want to commend Apple and T-Mobile for stepping up in a monumental way to support California’s neediest students,” said Thurmond in a news release. “As Californians, we have a shared commitment to ensure every student has access to the basic tools needed to connect to their learning, succeed in today’s world, and pursue their dreams. This commitment provides schools across the state a unique chance to put devices in the hands of students now, while potentially making longer-term investments that can help us remove these inequities once and for all.”

The Apple/T-Mobile partnership will connect up to 1 million students in need across California with an iPad with cellular, which offers a powerful and portable solution for schools that will keep students engaged in learning from anywhere. Apple’s Professional Learning team is dedicated to supporting educators and will be providing weekly virtual training sessions for California teachers, offering creative strategies for learning remotely. Apple also offers one-to-one virtual coaching sessions and teachers can gain foundational technology skills through the Apple Teacher Learning Center, available at no cost.

At least 100,000 devices — on average about $580 per student per year — can be ready to arrive through the back-to-school time frame, according to Apple and T-Mobile. The companies expect to be able to fulfill school district demand through the end of 2020.

How to order Apple and T-Mobile devices

  • Contact your Apple or T-Mobile Education Account Manager. Don’t know who your representative is?  Call 1-877-386-4246 and a dedicated education agent will set up a live meeting for your school district with a T-Mobile representative.
  • Submit a lead here, and a representative will follow up within 24 hours:

Questions? Contact