Laptops have become an essential part of today’s education, irrespective of whether the student is in college or grade school. Most students take notes with word processing software, communicate with classmates and tutors via email, including checking assignments and grades using educational-based programs like Blackboard. However, laptops are expensive pieces of technology. Even the very basic mobile computer can cost hundreds of dollars, a steep price for most low-income student’s budgets. Fortunately, there are a few options for providing cheap or free laptops for college students.
Some learning institutions avail of laptops of students at very reasonable rates or even completely free. Many online colleges provide laptops for free for their learners. In some instances, the school might ask for a refundable deposit to rent a computer or apply a per semester or annual technology charge. Note that while renting is one of the ways to get free laptops for college students, you must return them after the agreed period. Colleges often restrict these offers to full-time undergraduates. Besides, there might be residency requirements to meet, so it’s vital that you check. Regardless, these gadgets come with normal wear and tear warranty, as well as on-campus technical support.
Even so, online colleges that offer laptops are not the only option to obtain free laptops for college students. There are agencies, foundations, and organizations with programs that could facilitate you to a mobile PC of your own. The Computers for Learning organization, for example, is a federally sponsored initiative that offers computers and laptops to qualifying students. It operates much the same way as the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone program. In this post, we’ll show you how to apply for a free laptop for college and give you the best providers of these devices.
Free Laptops For College Students: Everything You Should Know
With ever-growing tech-compliant tasks, working conveniently with flexibility for portability plus an extended battery life are just a few of the perks that a laptop can bring. From the employed to students in high school, colleges, and grade school, a portable PC has become a necessity. Of course, your smartphone helps, but it isn’t flexible enough to allow a working environment. Therefore, it cannot replace the need for a mobile personal computer.
However, the biggest issue is that laptops are not as affordable as other pieces of technology, with new ones costing as much as several thousands of dollars. It explains the vast majority of prospective laptop owners, such as low-income students, who cannot afford it. Even so, there are a couple of ways to obtain free laptops for college students from the government and other organizations. Note that some of the approaches won’t get you a computer instantly; they will steer you in the right direction to receiving one.
And to be clear, you can’t just call or walk to the White House and demand free laptops for college students. Instead, you should research and discover which of the federal organizations give away computers for free. Moreover, some government programs won’t offer you a free PC, but they can give funds to purchase a laptop through educational grants.
The good news is that there are many non-profits today dealing with free technology items, including laptops. With such charities, you could receive the help you want by qualifying for a free mobile computer. All you must do is contact some of the sources we’ll list below and find out which covers your area or is closest to your home. In this way, it will be convenient to secure your free laptop for school. If you are patient enough, you could also get free internet to use for studies or work from home.
Read Also: How Can I Get Free Government Phones By State?
4 Categories To Apply For Free Laptops For College Students
Higher education in this age and era relies on technology, and free laptops for college students provide an obvious way for learners to avail of these essential pieces of tech. There are different policies and circumstances for each free laptop offer. In some cases, you might have to take an online course that comes with a free rental laptop, or sometimes a free laptop is just that a free mobile PC for college.
Are you wondering, “How do I get a free laptop for college students?” Well, you can obtain one from several colleges offering free iPads or laptops. Moreover, there are plenty of other avenues to get free laptops for college students on the cheap. Some institutions will give laptops to those that show financial need, making it pretty straightforward for a student to get their own portable computer.
Let’s show you four easy steps to securing a cheap free laptop for your studies.
1. Educational Grants
You can apply for educational grants towards getting a free laptop for school. In most situations, grants cater for tuition expenses, although a few allow learner supplies, including mobile computers. Microsoft Partners in Learning Grants is a perfect example, aiming at assisting students in obtaining laptops and related tech for schools. It is vital to check the eligibility criteria for such grants since not all students will qualify.
The rule of thumb is to apply for as many grants as possible to increase your chances of winning. Moreover, you’ll want to start applying for educational grants way before you join college. In this way, you will get ample time to know the application outcome. If you don’t qualify, you can look for alternative ways to get a laptop for college. When your submission is successful, it will give you enough time to set up the machine with the tools you’ll need for schoolwork.
2. Educational Contests
Participating in contests is a sure way to obtain one of the free laptops for college students. Search the internet for content that provides laptops for prizes. Some competitions may ask for your email and name to be part of the draw. Alternatively, others will ask qualifying students for a creative idea, invention, or an essay for winning the free device.
Even if a free portable PC isn’t the prize, many of the competitions provide cash that you could use to get a laptop. For instance, Burger King usually awards some high school graduates cash prizes in its scholarship program. Students planning to join a college or vocational institution with a minimum 2.5 GPA can apply for the scholarship and use the money to purchase a laptop.
Similarly, organizations like Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola have a computer and cash awards for college students from the age of 18. We recommend looking for contests run by large corporations such as Microsoft or Intel since not all online competitions are legit.
3. Checking Local Listings
There are plenty of free laptops for college students on newspaper classifieds or sites such as Craigslist. Many people have old devices they no longer use and are willing to give out. If they are not looking to give it away for free, they could be ready to trade it.
You can always email or call the owner to see if they are interested in exchanging the machine for something you no longer use. Besides, you’ll also want to keep an eye on campus-based listings. Some students are always looking for ways to finance a new laptop purchase by selling their old ones at a discount.
It’s always advisable to check the condition of the machine a schoolmate is selling. You do not want to give away your cash and get nothing for it. If possible, you could consult the technology department in college regarding the quality and worth of the laptop before you close the deal.
4. College Based Free Laptops
It is a compelling message: free laptops for enrolling college students. Bearing in mind that mobile portable computers come with steep price tags anywhere in the range of a couple hundred to some thousand dollars, any chance to secure one without paying is nothing to ignore. But are school-based free laptops for college students really free?
The short answer is yes and no. When some institutions claim to offer free laptops, they do not often mean that the device is totally free. Instead, they might imply that the gadget is free of extra charges, such as bundling the laptop cost into your tuition fee. Regardless, it is a good deal that avails of a machine in excellent condition for your schoolwork.
However, you should watch out for some colleges that provide laptops and apply a hefty technology or usage fee. Such offers will cost you far more that you’d have spent purchasing the computer outright.
Say you receive a free college-based laptop and pay $300 per semester for it. In that case, the free deal will eventually cost you over $2,500 at the end of a four-year course. It could even be more expensive if your program takes longer than four years. Note that technology charges usually come with several perks, including insurance against damages or extended warranties. But it’s advisable to do the math and determine if it is a worthy investment.
Furthermore, some of the free laptops for college students are only available to a select group of students. For example, a good number of online colleges offering free laptops are traditional learning institutions with a few online courses. In addition, many of them reserve free laptop deals for those attending classes from school premises. Sometimes the offer is only available for students living on campus.
Therefore it’s vital to apply a healthy dose of skepticism when evaluating the real cost and worth of a free college laptop offer.
Now that you know a few ways to secure a free laptop for higher learning let’s give you the ten best places to get a free portable computer.
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The 10 Best Colleges That Provide Free Laptops For Students
- Federal Government Benefits
- Pell Grants
- PCS for People
- Computer with Causes
- Freecycle Network
- Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse
- Seton Hill School
- Seton Hill School
- Wake Forest
- Stevens Henager College
We scoured various resources, including online colleges, government-based organizations, foundations, corporations, and private-based initiatives, to see which ones would give you the best value. The good news is that we found ten places offering free laptops for college students that fit the bill. Our ten examples include ways you can obtain a free or deeply discounted mobile PC for your studies.
1. Federal Government Benefits
The government has many programs offering benefits to its people. Federal sponsored initiatives are an obvious way to avail of free laptops for college students. Applying through one of the following categories could see you avail of a decent portable computer for school:
- Career Development and Employment – Needy and low-income families can get federal help for students through the Veterans Affairs loans, or the CareerOneStop unemployment benefits via the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Disaster Relief – It involves loans and free government assistance for those that disaster affects. In some cases, students can qualify for a free government laptop through loans.
- Family and Children Services – There are plenty of services under this initiative that provides aid to survivors and children, including financial and material-related support. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF is a great example of a program providing cash assistance to families that can’t afford their children’s basic needs.
- Financial Assistance – There are several initiatives providing tax help, living assistance, insurance, and other forms of aid to qualifying families and individuals. For example, your family could be eligible for the Federal Housing Assistance grants. The funds can get you a reliable college laptop.
- American Indian and Alaska Native program – You could apply and obtain loans for the youth under this program and purchase a laptop with cash from the government-run initiative.
- Education and Training – The best thing is that the federal government has tons of schemes to support qualifying students in pursuing education. To achieve that goal, the government offers scholarships and educational loans that often include the purchase of equipment like laptops and related technology.
- Student Loan Forgiveness – Students can apply for a laptop loan under the Public Student Loan Forgiveness initiative. You can pay your students’ laptop loan in 120 installments covering ten years by working full time in a non-profit organization, government agency, or an approved job. If you’re in luck, the initiative might waive a significant portion of your outstanding loan.
You’ll want to see if you qualify for any laptop-related benefits under the above categories. Note that while you may be ineligible for some of the benefits, you could still apply through an eligible parent or guardian.
While there are tons of options for obtaining free government money for purchasing a laptop, the only way to receive the funds is through meeting its eligibility criteria. There are no standard qualifications across most programs save for the households’ income federal poverty guidelines. For example, an individual or family can qualify for if their annual income is not more than:
- $14,702 per person
- $19,859 for a family with two members
- $25,016 for a household with three members
- $30,173 for a family with four members
The best way to find out whether you meet the requirements for a free government laptop is through the Benefits.gov website, which connects citizens with relevant government assistance. Even though there are free computers, the portal covers plenty of info from SNAP to job training and housing assistance. You can use the site benefits finder tool to learn more about available offers.
2. Pell Grants
Pell Grants are part of the government FAFSA education assistance initiative. First-time undergraduate students who are income-eligible or registered in specific baccalaureate programs can receive funds to purchase a laptop from the organization through the federal government.
Note that Pell Grants are genuine free money because it comes as a grant and not a loan, and you won’t be repaying it. However, to be eligible for the financial aid, you must:
- Qualify through the federal income guidelines
- Be a first-time college student in an undergraduate course, or
- Be a post-baccalaureate student in an eligible program.
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form.
3. PCS for People
The nonprofit organization offers Microsoft-registered refurbished portable machines and desktop computers for needy persons, along with low-cost internet. But the organization doesn’t just assist any underprivileged individual. You can qualify by meeting the following requirements:
- Your income must be below the federal 200% poverty index.
- It considers beneficiaries of a government-sponsored income-based program.
- You must provide a current eligibility proof document for the above program, dated within the first six months of its authorship.
- The alternative for the above evidence is your tax return forms.
- You must provide an ID that has your photo.
Laptops from PCS for People include a power cable and a one-year warranty for the machine hardware.
4. Computer with Causes
It is another charity program striving to make a difference in the field of technology. Computer with Causes receives wide-ranging computer-based donations for supporting students, schools, teachers, libraries, parents, universities, and other sponsorship programs.
The requirements to receive free laptops for college students from this organization include:
- You must provide a monitored assessment.
- You must be successful in their reference calls.
- You must complete a background-reference check and attach the report.
Once you meet the above criteria, you can submit an application for a free mobile PC. Note that Computer with Causes applications is valid for thirty days. If you don’t receive a positive response within that duration, it’s advisable to file a new application.
5. Freecycle Network
There are plenty of freebies from Freecycle, a network of companies and people. The organization gives away free laptops to individuals in most need. It won’t be hard finding a local chapter of this worldwide program.
Here’s what you can do to receive a free laptop from Freecycle:
- Go to the Freecycle website to see if any member is offering a laptop at no charge.
- Post in the site’s listings, explaining why you deserve to get a free laptop offer.
- Wait to get responses to your listings from members.
- Engage with prospective member offers to receive your free machine.
6. Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse
The Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse is an excellent place to find free laptops for college students. It is a conglomerate of non-profits that refurbishes and distributes different pieces of technology, including printers, laptops, and desktop computers. The available offers can come at a low cost of free service to the needy.
To apply for ATRR free laptops, you should:
- Visit the website to see their nearest local store.
- Pick the closest pin to your area.
- Get more info from the nearest ‘Reuse Coordinator.’
It is another non-profit on our list seeking to enhance social and economic growth by assisting communities in accessing the internet. One of their goals in helping people get online is making low-cost computers and laptops readily available.
Interested students can apply for a free or low-cost laptop by:
- Visiting the organizations portal
- Finding and clicking the offer locator tool on the site
- Entering your ZIP code to begin the application
The offer locator and ZIP code are essential in helping interested individuals find computer offers in their region. Note that there are other eligibility requirements, depending on your state.
8. Seton Hill School
The Catholic-owned private institution of higher learning is home to a little over 2,200 learners. The school has a savvy approach to learning that incorporates technology in class. Seton Hill gives free laptops for college students that it integrates into the campus teaching curriculum.
However, not every student is eligible for free mobile tech offers. To qualify for its Apple-based gadgets, you must:
- Be eligible for one of its undergraduate or Master programs.
- Enroll as a traditional undergraduate or Masters student
Students will receive a free MacBook and iPad upon enrolling for an on-campus program.
There are a few post-graduate courses as well, from which you can qualify for an iPad or MacBook as follows:
- An iPad for students taking M.S. in Orthodontics program
- A MacBook and iPad for learners in the M.S. in Physician Assistant program
- An iPad for students pursuing M.A in Marriage and Family Therapy program
- A MacBook for learners taking M.A. in Art Therapy course
The school replaces both the 13-inch MacBook Air and the latest iPad after two successive years of schooling. Besides, Seton Hill allows graduates to keep the replacement device once they complete school. There’s also campus-based tech support, allowing students to get a loaner device if their tablet or laptop needs repairs.
9. Wake Forest
1834 privately funded college is one of the leading institutions of higher learning in the United States. Wake Forest has a warm enrollment of fewer than five thousand learners. While it is an exclusive and expensive university, students can qualify for scholarships once they join.
One of the qualifications for joining Wake Forest University is a laptop with minimum specs to allow the academic software programs. The school has the WakeWare program to assist undergraduates, and graduates reduce technology-related costs. Students can buy a Dell or Apple laptop at a college discount, which comes with a warranty cover and extended insurance for theft, damages, and other incidents.
Along with the institutional discount, the university offers a Technology Grant to scholarship aid students. The tech grant caters to the laptop expenses plus insurance and local taxes.
Here’s how to score one of the free laptops for college students in this institution:
- You must be an aid recipient from the school.
- Be eligible for the university financial aid package.
- Qualifying for the school’s scholarship will allow you to receive a Technology Grant.
Even if you are ineligible for the free mobile PC deal, there’s still the deeply discounted laptop offer. For incoming students, the school can ship the device to your home or pick it up upon arrival.
10. Stevens Henager College
Joining campus gets easier with Stevens Henager College through its no-fee initiative, providing free laptops for college students. The program caters to all of this university’s new undergraduates.
There’s only one qualification to receive the free portable computer:
- You must be an incoming undergraduate student.
While there are no freebies for graduates, you won’t need it if you began as an undergraduate since the college allows all undergraduate-level students to keep their free laptops after graduating from university. And to further reduce the overall college expenses, the school lets learners lease course materials and textbooks.
Things To Watch Out For When Getting Free Laptops For College Students
We all know the mantra that when the deal is too good, you should think twice. Therefore, here are some common online scams to watch out for as you search for cheap or free laptops for college students.
Scammers will devise many tactics to convince you that they are offering a legit deal. You must particularly be on the lookout for contests. Here are a few questions to ask when evaluating contents and sweepstakes:
- What info do they require?
- What are the requirements to enter the contest? Downloading a software program can leave your gadget with a virus.
- Who is the contest sponsor? We recommend that you only join contests sponsored by large companies like Microsoft and Coca-Cola.
- How did you learn about the competition? Was it through junk mail?
- Does the hosting link end with a strange URL like Microsoft.cn?
Scams on Craigslist
Craigslist is one of the resources that could get you free laptops for college students. But it could also be a scammer haven. There are many honest users like you, trying to offload their old items for cash.
Avoid giving out personal information on the site. Instead, Craigslist has an email relay system that you should use to communicate with prospective sellers. When it’s time to seal the deal, always choose a public spot where you’ll be visible to others. As much as possible, avoid meeting after dark.
Furthermore, watch out for:
- Someone being rigid to suggestions about meeting places.
- Site users asking for payment before you meet them to check the laptop.
- Anyone using offensive language and broken English to pass their point.
Evaluating The Cost Behind A Free Offer
To make an excellent financial decision, you’ll want to find out if the other expenses are worth the free portable computer. Most universities giving away free laptops for college students can afford it since their tuition is high. It means this offer is a negligible cost to them as long as they are securing a new student.
While it is true that higher-priced colleges usually have better sponsorship deals, you cannot just assume it. Use some of the free net price calculators on the internet to help determine if a private institution has a more attractive deal than a state-owned college with lower tuition fees.
Regardless, going into thousands of dollars of debt just to obtain a free laptop for college wouldn’t be sensible. For instance, $37,172 is the average loan debt per student in the United States. It is the equivalent of about thirty mobile PC. Getting free laptops for college students can be a great deal for any incoming undergraduate in need. Nevertheless, it’s more important to give due consideration to tangible and lasting decisions of picking a college, which includes the school’s gross financial assistance package.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are there any free laptops for college students from the government?
The simple answer is Yes and No. No, in the sense that you cannot directly contact the federal government, demanding a free computer. However, you can apply for free laptops for college students through government-sponsored programs. The initiatives offer needy families and individuals low-cost laptops and computers or grants to purchase the equipment. Note that you must meet specific income-based requirements before you apply. You can check with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA website for more details.
Are free student laptops from colleges worth it?
Many schools offer free laptops to new undergraduates. Whether or not the deal is worth will depend on the institution. Some colleges charge a premium for tuition in exchange for the free laptop computers. Paying as much as $400 per semester for a free portable PC isn’t worth the investment as the overall expenses are far beyond the RRP for a new laptop. On the other hand, schools like Seton Hill partner with Apple to supply all undergraduates and graduates with free MacBook Air laptops and iPads. It is an amazing offer since the deal does not influence how much a student pays for tuition.
Who has the best free laptop offer for students?
It would depend on your needs. There are tons of different deals on free laptops for college students. For college-based offers, you’ll want to go with a school that provides PC along with related insurance and warranties, all without paying. For example, Wake Forest and Seton Hill have such deals. In addition, they let students keep the machines after graduating from the institutions. In terms of government and non-profits, the best offer on a laptop is one that comes with free internets, like what EveryoneOn provides. The Internet of Things opens your world for multiple opportunities, including earning online while in college.
What to know before applying for free laptop offers?
We recommend that you do your homework before you apply for any free laptop deal. Note that each provider has different terms and conditions. Furthermore, a healthy dose of skepticism is always necessary when approaching such deals. For example, you must be able to uncover the cost behind some colleges providing free laptops, especially when bundling them into your tuition fee. Most importantly, watch out for online scams, especially on contests offering freebies.
Can college students obtain discounts on computers and laptops?
Yes. Regardless of your location or college, you can secure great student discounts from online retailers, local stores, colleges, non-profit organizations, government departments, and computer manufacturers. You only have to show proof of being a student, and you will receive discounts on tablets, computers, software programs, laptops, and other accessories.
The Bottom Line
Information is vital when trying to get free laptops for college students. But if you live in the US, there are tons of options to get the best affordable or completely free portable PC with no fuss. You just need to meet the eligibility criteria in each case, and you could be on your way to receiving a free computer.
The best part is that you may qualify for a free laptop for college and free internet. In this way, you can do a lot more, including joining online colleges, working online, and apply for part-time jobs. Besides, a free laptop computer is an obvious way to becoming more informed, which could be a game-changer.
There are government programs, college-based sponsored initiatives, federal departments, as well as non-profits that can assist you in obtaining free laptops for college students. While it may seem a little overwhelming in the beginning, be sure to exercise patience and due diligence as you search for a legit free laptop offer. Technology-based skills are more than necessary in the 21st century. Apart from helping to complete school assignments, the device will go a long way to simplify other aspects of your life.