Going to college can be expensive. Tuition, textbooks, and housing can add up pretty quickly. In addition, many college students need a laptop to help them keep up with coursework and complete assignments.
Unfortunately, purchasing a laptop is not really an option for many students. To assist students in succeeding in their degree journey, various colleges, organizations and institutions have created free laptop for college programs.
The Importance of Laptops in College
Laptops have become an essential tool for college students. They are used for note-taking, research, writing papers, and even taking exams. With the prevalence of online classes and remote learning, laptops are even more crucial for students to keep up with their studies.
Having a laptop can improve productivity, helping students work on assignments and study from anywhere, anytime.
The Cost of Laptops
Laptops can be expensive, adding a barrier for many students. The cost of laptops can also add up over time, as students may need to upgrade or replace their laptops every few years.
The impact of these costs on students can be significant, with some students needing to take out loans or work extra jobs to afford a laptop.
Free Laptop for College Programs
To address the issue of laptop costs for students, various organizations and institutions have established free laptops for college programs.
These programs offer laptops to students who meet certain criteria, such as being a first-generation college student or having a certain GPA. The programs vary by institution and organization.
To apply for these programs, students usually need to complete an application and provide documentation to prove their eligibility. Some programs may also require an essay or personal statement.
Online Colleges That Offer Laptops
In addition to traditional college programs providing laptops, some online colleges and universities offer laptops to students as part of their tuition and fees.
These laptops are typically preloaded with software and programs needed for online coursework and can be a great option for students who prefer online learning or who are unable to attend classes on campus.
California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) offers free technology to all students through its STEP Program. The program provides industry-leading laptops, tablets, and equipment to learners on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of financial need. Since its launch in 2021, over 2,000 students have received devices, resulting in improved academic performance and increased engagement in online learning.
CSUB’s STEP Program guarantees that every learner is equipped with the necessary resources to thrive academically.
The university is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, with a net price of $7,454 and an acceptance rate of 78%. The graduation rate is 56%, and the median earnings of graduates are $52,606. Free loaner laptops can also be checked out every semester for all East Bay and Fullerton college students.
The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) provides free laptops to on-campus learners to help them succeed in their studies. Their program has been successful in improving academic performance, engagement in online learning, and access to resources. Learners receive HP laptops preloaded with necessary software and a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365.
UMC has a net price of $11,593. UMC’s acceptance rate is 72%, graduation rate is 55%, and median earnings are $47,869. The most popular majors include Accounting, Business, and Liberal Arts and Humanities.
UC Irvine offers free laptops to all students. To ensure that all students have access to the necessary digital tools for their studies, financial aid to purchase a laptop is available for all who qualify. Students receiving financial aid during the fall semester may request a one-time budget increase of up to $2,000 to acquire a new computer.
This allowance covers hardware, software, monitor, printer, and extended warranty expenses. Funding is limited to student and/or parent loans, subject to eligibility and borrowing limits.
- UCI has outlined minimum laptop requirements:
- Windows 10 or recent Mac OS X operating system
- Core i5 processor or higher
- at least 8 GB of RAM
- 256 GB solid-state drive or larger
- built-in webcam
- on-board video for graphics.
UCI’s laptop program aims to help learners reach their academic goals and stay connected throughout their academic journey, ensuring that all students have the tools they need to succeed. Engineering students have specific laptop requirements, which can be found on the Engineering website. Please note that Mac laptops are not suitable for engineering students.
UCI is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, with a net price of $12,209, an acceptance rate of 30%, a graduation rate of 87%, a median earnings of $71,961, a retention rate of 94%, and 90% of graduates employed two years after graduation.
When considering online colleges offering laptops, it’s important to research each institution’s specific programs and requirements. Some colleges may only offer laptops to full-time students or may require students to meet certain eligibility requirements. Additionally, it’s important to consider the cost of tuition and fees, as online colleges can be more expensive than traditional colleges.
Benefits of Free Laptops for College Programs
Free laptop for college programs have many benefits. Offering free laptops to students helps to level the playing field for low-income students. Without a laptop, students may struggle to keep up with their coursework and fall behind. Providing free laptops helps to ensure that all students have equal access to technology and educational resources.
Offering free laptops also helps to close the digital divide –the gap between those with access to technology and those without. By providing laptops to students, providing free laptops to college students helps to bridge this gap and ensure that all students have access to technology.
Drawbacks of Free Laptops for College Programs
While free laptop for college programs have many benefits, they also have potential drawbacks. One of the main concerns is financial sustainability. Providing free laptops can be expensive, and programs may struggle to maintain funding over time. This could result in programs being cut or reduced, leaving students without access to technology.
Another concern is the impact of free laptops on the education system. Some critics argue that providing free laptops to students may make them too reliant on technology and limit their ability to learn and think critically. Additionally, providing free laptops may create a culture of entitlement, where students expect to receive technology for free rather than working to earn it.
How to Apply for Free Laptop for College Programs
To apply for a free laptop from a college program, students should first research the programs available at their institution or through external organizations. They should check the eligibility requirements for each program and gather any necessary documentation.
Students may need to provide proof of income, enrollment status, academic standing, and other qualifications depending on the program. Some programs may also require an essay or personal statement.
Once students have gathered all the necessary information and documentation, they should submit their application by the deadline. It’s important to keep track of deadlines and requirements for each program to ensure that the application is complete and submitted on time.
In addition to free laptop for college programs, students should also explore other options for obtaining a laptop, such as renting or leasing a laptop, purchasing a refurbished laptop, or financing a laptop purchase.
Alternatives to Free Laptops for College Programs
While free laptop college programs are a great option for students, other alternatives exist. One option is renting or leasing laptops. Many companies offer laptop rental services at an affordable cost.
If you can’t buy a computer outright, renting a laptop is a great option.
Another option is programs that provide affordable laptops. Some companies offer refurbished laptops at a discounted price, or provide financing options for students who cannot afford to buy a laptop upfront.
How to Choose the Best Laptop for College
When choosing a laptop for college, there are several factors to consider.
- Consider the specs of the laptop, such as the processor, RAM, and storage space. These specs will impact the performance of the laptop and how well it can handle multitasking and running demanding programs.
- Consider the size and weight of the laptop. A lightweight and portable laptop is ideal for college students who need to carry their laptops around campus or between classes.
- Consider the cost of the laptop. Consider the cost of the laptop. Finding a laptop that can fit into your budget can be challenging. Many colleges offer deals and discounts. Students can purchase a refurbished or used laptop to save money.
It’s important to consider all options when choosing a laptop for college, including renting or leasing laptops and programs that provide affordable laptops. By choosing the right laptop, students can ensure they have the tools they need to succeed in college and beyond.
Free Laptop Resources
- The National Cristina Foundation provides free laptops to individuals with disabilities, students in need, and veterans.
- PCs for People provides low-cost or free computers and internet to needy individuals and families.
- The On It Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides free computers and internet access to K through 12 students in need.
- The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) provides information about college costs, such as laptops and other technology needs.
- The World Computer Exchange provides refurbished computers to schools, libraries, and youth centers in developing countries. They also offer inexpensive computers to individuals and families in the United States.
- The Free Geek is a non-profit organization providing free and low-cost computers and computer education to needy people.
- The Komputers 4 R Kids Program is a program that provides free refurbished computers to children and families in need in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- The National Digital Inclusion Alliance provides resources and advocacy to promote digital equity and inclusion.
College Laptop Discounts
- Apple Store for Education
- Best Buy College Deals for Students
- Notebooks for Students
- Computers for Causes
Colleges that Provide Laptops FAQs
What are some common qualifications for free laptops for college programs?
Qualifications for a free laptop vary by institution and organization. Some common qualifications include being a first-generation college student, having a certain GPA, or demonstrating financial need.
Are free laptops only available for certain majors?
Free laptop for college programs are typically available to all majors, as long as students meet the eligibility requirements.
What are some of the potential drawbacks of free laptops for college programs?
Some of the potential drawbacks of free laptop for college programs include financial sustainability, creating a culture of entitlement, and limiting students’ ability to learn and think critically.
Can international students apply for free laptop for college programs?
Eligibility for free laptop for college programs may vary by institution and organization, but many programs are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. International students should check with their college’s financial aid office to determine eligibility for any programs.
Is it better to lease or buy a laptop for college?
Whether it’s better to lease or buy a laptop for college depends on individual circumstances. Leasing can be a good option for students who only need a laptop for a short period of time or who cannot afford to buy a laptop outright. Buying a laptop outright may be a better option for students who need a laptop for the duration of their college career.