20 Colleges That Offer Free Laptops or iPads for Online Students [2024 Guide]

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Without access to reliable technology, pursuing an online degree can become a significant challenge, hindering academic success and limiting opportunities. This guide helps you choose the online colleges that offer laptops for free or discounted rates.

Colleges That Offer Free Laptops

Many of the programs on our list that are providing free or discounted laptops are specifically for online or hybrid learning, but that is not across the board.  Some of the online programs on the list give students a personal device specifically for the time the student is enrolled, but others allow participants to keep the technology even after the program is complete. 

Featured Programs

You can find free laptop programs at institutions like Bethel University, Chatham University, College University, Dakota State University, Delaware State University, and Duke University Global Health Institute. These initiatives include pre-installed software and technical support, ensuring a seamless educational experience. 

By eliminating the financial barrier of acquiring a laptop, such programs open doors for students from diverse backgrounds, fostering an inclusive and equitable learning environment by lowering the cost of an education.

SchoolDevices OfferedRequirements
Bethel UniversityChromebook with touchscreenFull-time students
Chatham UniversityMacBook AirFull-time students with a usage fee
Dakota State UniversityDell Latitude 7440Incoming first-year students
Delaware State UniversityiPad ProStudents and faculty
Duke University Global Health InstituteiPadStudents in the Global Health Institute program
Full Sail UniversityMacBook ProStudents with tech fees
Indiana State UniversityLaptopPell Grant-eligible, full-time traditional students
Johnson C. Smith UniversityiPad or laptopEligible students, Metropolitan College students
Moravian CollegeiPad and MacBook ProIncoming freshmen
Northwest Missouri State UniversityHP Probook 440 G7 NotebookUndergrads (12+ credits), Grad students (9+ credits)
Rochester CollegeiPad or MacBook ProIncoming freshmen, transfer students (29 credits or fewer)
Saint Mary’s University of MinnesotaiPadUndergraduate students
Seton Hill UniversityMacBook AirIncoming freshmen, specific graduate programs
Southern Nazarene UniversityLaptop (discounted rate)Full-time and part-time students
St. John’s UniversityLaptopParticipants in academic computing initiative
University of Minnesota-CrookstonLaptopFull-time and part-time students
Wake Forest UniversityLaptop with WakeWareStudents receiving financial aid
Wentworth Institute of TechnologyLaptop based on majorIncoming full-time students
Western Kentucky UniversityRefurbished Apple laptopStudents with 40+ hours of community service
Widener UniversityLaptopRobotics and engineering students

This webpage may mention the possibility of free laptop programs offered by various educational institutions. However, please note that the inclusion of any school on this page does not guarantee or imply a free laptop offer. The availability and terms of laptop programs are subject to change and may vary between institutions. For the most accurate information, please consult with schools directly.

1. Bethel University 

Bethel University

Bethel University (one of the best online colleges in Indiana) was officially created in 1847 in McLemoresville, Tennessee. It was originally known as Bethel Seminary. Though it’s no longer a seminary, it has maintained its Christian foundation and values. 

Now, they have five campuses and extensive online programming, where the technology comes into play. The school’s affordable connectivity program offers every full-time student a free Chromebook with a touch screen. This is kind of like a laptop and iPad in one. 

Each student will be shipped their Chromebook directly, or they can opt to pick it up at the New Student Orientation before classes start. 

  • All of the Chromebooks will be loaded with Moodle and Google Drive to make it easy for students to participate in coursework using their equipment. 
  • The machines will be stocked with the Microsoft Office 360 Suite. On staff is a capable IT team ready to offer support to navigate the system or help problem solve issues like battery life or software updates.

2. Chatham University

Chatham University

Chatham University has existed since 1869 and has learned to incorporate the cutting edge into its classrooms. As part of their enrollment costs, each student pays a fee of $1,335. 

Because each student has the same technology, they are streamlined and incorporated into the coursework of most classes. When classes need to be canceled, these personal computers make it easy to move class sessions to the online format.

Several things come out of that program, including a personal MacBook Air for each student and a four-year AppleCare warranty. Participants will receive their new computer at their initial student orientation. 

  • Each learner will also receive four years of accidental damage protection through SafeWare, which includes theft protection. There is an on-site help desk where students receive their computers for servicing. 
  • An exciting gift with each computer is a Chatham-labeled backpack where the laptops can be securely transported. 

3. Dakota State University

Dakota State University

Dakota State University is located in South Dakota and offers a wide variety of classes that are delivered entirely online. It is also one of our top online colleges in South Dakota. It believes in equal access to learning and technology, so each incoming freshman is provided with a free laptop.

DSU’s goal for giving each student a laptop is to foster a greener and mostly paperless academic experience. Faculty members incorporate this technology in their planning and delivery of curricula. 

The program allows students to take notes using digital handwriting that will be directly added to the professor’s digital presentations, record audio in class, submit and receive class assignments, and collaborate with students through a secure server, among many other possibilities.

  • The computer they are given is a Dell Latitude 7440, which will be pre-configured with all of the installed licensed software students need to be successful at DSU. 
  • Each computer will have universal access to wired networks and secure wireless connections to be used throughout the campus.

4. Delaware State University

Delaware State University

Delaware State University formed a partnership with Apple Computer in 2018, and the result is the provision of an iPad Pro for students and faculty members. This is part of a digital learning initiative, and DSU hopes to make all classroom activities digital by this year. 

They consider giving out this kind of technology an equity issue. In other words, lack of access to technology due to economic status can hinder a student’s ability to be successful in today’s tech-driven world. 

DSU’s laptop program wants to ensure that all students receive the same resources to have equal access to success. 

  • On top of iPad Pros, students in the Department of Mass Communications will receive MacBook Pros that are capable of running advanced software for editing and imaging. 
  • IT support staff set up and gave out over 150 MacBooks and 1,000 iPad Pros in the first few weeks of classes.

5. Duke University Global Health Institute 

Duke University Global Health Institute

Duke University Global Health Institute is a leader in public health education. It trains its college and graduate students to synthesize research and education to act on the frontlines of remediating health disparities. 

A perk of participating in this program is the administration of a free iPad for students to use as a tool for field research. 

The goal is to give college students everything they need to get the most out of their fieldwork experiences and allow them to truly focus on the people they are working with rather than fumble to take handwritten notes or find an online resource. 

  • They began offering iPads for this very reason in 2010 and have since become part of a larger initiative to incorporate technology as an integral part of Duke’s campus-wide program.
  • The Duke Medical Center Library has been working with technology and hopes to innovate further in the next few years as it expands its digital reach.

6. Full Sail University 

Full Sail University 

Full Sail University is located in Winter Park Florida, though many of its courses and programs can be completed entirely online. They have a unique partnership with Apple Computer called Project Launchbox.

This was designed to ensure college students have the skills and technology they need to create portfolios that stand out. Full Sail University grants each student a MacBook Pro loaded with the software they need for their given program. Considering Full Sail University is one of the best online digital marketing programs, it is no surprise that they understand the importance of students’ access to technology.

In actuality, the technology granted through LaunchBox is not free, as each student is on the hook for a laptop usage fee separate from tuition that is tailored to each program. The pricing for each package is variable and may change from semester to semester.

  • Each Launchbox is specific to the program, so hardware and software vary slightly. 
  • The Digital Cinematography LaunchBox comes with the tools to create award-winning movies.

7. Indiana State University

Indiana State University

Indiana State University won the Sycamore Technology Award, that is specifically geared toward its Pell Grant Eligible population. As a recipient of this award, they are able to give out free laptops for college students who qualify. 

Students do not need to submit another application or additional paperwork as long as they are enrolled by July 15. If a student qualifies for the Sycamore Technology Award, that does not mean they are eligible for other forms of financial support. 

For any questions, students can contact the scholarship office for additional information about the laptop program. If a student withdraws from their program, the laptop must be returned within 30 days of their last day. 

  • Students must be enrolled full-time in traditional programming at Indiana State University. 
  • Every incoming freshman will be considered as far as receiving this award goes. 

8.  Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University is a historically black university in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have a long history of inclusive practices, including believing students should have access to technology, especially in this increasingly tech-driven world. 

This shakes out in a few different ways on campus. Many students are eligible to receive a free iPad to use while enrolled at Johnson C. Smith. 

Each iPad is loaded with software that is beneficial to the required coursework given and will play a big role in the technology-driven curricula. 

  • Students enrolled in their Metropolitan College will receive a free laptop at the start of the school year. Every laptop is packed with software that supports learning and productivity. 
  • They are equipped with a wireless and wired campus network, ensuring internet connectivity will never be an issue.

9. Moravian College

Moravian College

Moravian College, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is at the front lines of tech innovation. They want their bachelor’s degree students to be the same. 

In 2018, they were named an Apple Distinguished School as a result of their mission to make technology accessible to every student. 

Their mission includes not seeing technology as a classroom distraction but a complement to academic excellence. Moravian’s goal in offering such hardware to every student is to ensure the playing field is level and no learner has less opportunities than another because they don’t have the same resources.

  • Each incoming freshman at Moravian is given both an iPad and a MacBook Pro directly after they submit their acceptance deposit to attend. 
  • This is to be used not only while they are students at Moravian but also beyond that. Yes, the technology is theirs to keep for their future education or career endeavors.

10. Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University is located in Maryville, Missouri. It believes in making education as easy as possible to achieve by removing some of the barriers that get in the way of a bachelor’s degree with fewer economic resources. 

As part of this mission, it gives each undergraduate and graduate student free laptops to borrow while at Northwest. Undergrads must be enrolled in over 12 credit hours at a time to qualify.

In line with the idea of accessibility, their students are given the opportunity to rent primary textbooks to save money on costs as well. 

  • The free laptops they receive are HP Probook 440 G7 Notebooks, also known as Ultrabooks. They are loaded with current software, including the MS Office 365.
  • Northwest Missouri has an IT staff to support students in servicing their free laptops and answer any questions that may arise related to the equipment.

11. Rochester College

Rochester College

Rochester College is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Known for its beauty and lake views, Rochester provides undergraduate students and transfer students with an accessible education enhanced by technology. 

They were among the first to add tech inclusion to their teaching strategy. In 2008, they began offering each incoming freshman a free iPad or MacBook Pro. 

Rochester College is invested in making sure each student has access to the most current technology as they embark on their academic careers. This practice of offering technology to incoming students is still part of the fabric of their school. 

  • Transfer students are also eligible to receive their free technology if they come in with 29 credits or less. 
  • Students who are dually enrolled as part of their high school college program may also be eligible, depending on the amount of credits they come in with. 

12. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers robust traditional programs at its Minneopolis-based campus. It also has a variety of online and hybrid program offerings. 

Students will be trained to use iPads effectively as a classroom resource at their new orientation. Most of their academic requirements will be performed with the iPad. 

However, they ask that students also have personal computer access to write papers and complete longer assignments.

  • In order to ensure undergraduate students have what they need to be successful in their tech-savvy coursework, they offer each student a free iPad with an intuitive interface. 
  • The iPad will be the window to academic success, as students will be able to use this mobile device to communicate with peers for group projects, read textbooks and share notes, post to discussions in a variety of formats (including podcasts), and much more.

13. Seton Hill University

Seton Hill University

Seton Hill University is located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, but they believe that remote learning is the path forward and can happen anywhere. They prioritize education that students can accomplish anytime and anywhere. 

All of the equipment in the school’s laptop program can be serviced on campus while the student receives a loaner laptop. Apple has recognized Seton Hill as a Distinguished School for five years in a row.

They have created a mobile e-book called Mobile Learning @ the Hill, which shares insight on their mobile learning program and trajectory.

  • The way this plays out is that faculty members are given extensive training along with their own MackBook Air to integrate mobile learning into their curricula. Incoming freshmen also receive their very own MacBook Air. 
  • The MS in Physician, MS in Art Therapy, and the MS in Orthodontics programs also give students free MacBook Airs, as the technology is integrated into their coursework.

14. Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University is a college located slightly west of Oklahoma City on a 40-acre campus. They are a Christian liberal arts school that is committed to academic excellence. 

They employ these values by ensuring that all of their classes are up to date as far as technological advancement goes. They require each student to get a free laptop to attend this university.

They have a list of departments with the required software and systems on their website. Students studying in a given field have what they need to be professionals in the sphere for which they are working.

  • They don’t believe in leaving anyone behind to enforce this policy, and they offer a hugely discounted rate for students who do not have a modern laptop and need to purchase one. 
  • Their Dell computers have the latest software that will be utilized in the coursework at Southern Nazarene.

15. St. John’s University

St. John’s University

St. John’s University is located in Queens, New York, yet its imprint is much larger than its campus. Much of their goal is to give students the drive and resources to succeed in this technologically advanced world. 

They provide devices for students who participate in their academic computing initiative. Students who opt to participate in this program are given a free laptop, extended technical support, and a warranty that lasts four years. 

All computers already have pre-installed software relevant to coursework and class requirements. The incentive to keep the free laptop is graduation. 

  • Another amazing aspect of this program is that students are allowed to choose between three options. Various departments have different recommendations for which computer is the most beneficial. Most students choose the MacBook Pro. 
  • While there is a tech fee associated with the gift, it is minimal compared to the cost of the computers.

16. University of Minnesota-Crookston 

University of Minnesota-Crookston

The University of Minnesota-Crookston offers a technically rich environment on and off campus. One of the ways they apply technical inclusion and access is through their free laptop program.

Experiential learning is written all over this institution, and this technology is employed to bring that vision forward. Most employers view U of M students as immediate go-to’s when they hunt for creative and tech-savvy employees. 

On a side note, they offer the same tuition rates for all of their students to bring together a world-class environment full of diversity. 

  • From day one, students are offered a free laptop to carry them through their education and beyond. 
  • They utilize free laptops as essential classroom tools. Each student can access cyber simulations, video presentations, and tailored applications as an integral part of their coursework.

17. Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It prides itself on technological advancement and inclusion and offers a variety of resources to prove that it is building a tech-savvy student and faculty body. 

One of the interesting offerings is their Wakerspace, which employs a multi-modal approach to accessible digital innovations. 

They believe all students need technology to be on the front lines of their education, so they do all they can to ensure this idea is implemented. 

  • Every student who receives any form of financial service, which includes merit or needs-based scholarships, is entitled to a technology grant. These grants enable students to buy a standard laptop with insurance, all of which include WakeWare.
  • Everyone who is being offered a free system will be notified by the end of May. Every other student will be given a computer at a discounted rate.

18. Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth Institute of Technology’s name says it all. That’s right, they are an institution of higher learning driven by technology. 

Wentworth piloted the free laptop program in 2004, making it one of the first to prioritize technology access in this way. The cost of tuition covers the free laptop, and no additional fees are applied. 

Wentworth technically owns all of the machines. However, students can upload the software they want and need. Ownership is transferred to the student upon graduation.

  • One way they employ accessibility is by offering each incoming full-time student a laptop computer, contingent upon graduation. Each academic program has identified the right machine and software that makes sense for the coursework and programming at hand. The machine a student receives is based on their major.
  • In addition to the technology that students are given upon enrollment, they have access to significant student discounts for additional equipment if they desire to purchase anything else. 

19. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They offer many traditional degree programs and online opportunities that continue to expand.

Part of their mission is to ensure all students who come and leave through their doors are tech-savvy enough to excel in the current workforce. 

They have a variety of programs that enable students to have what they need when it comes to hardware and software. They even have a program that enables students who participate in over 40 hours of community service to receive a free refurbished Apple laptop computer.

  • Students can access both Dell and Apple computers at discounted rates through their IT website. The site also shows students the appropriate and compatible hardware and software to keep them up-to-date in their classes.
  • They also have a recycled computer program and a variety of other options. Included are extensive technical support offerings for their students. 

20. Widener University

Widener University

Widener University offers a leg up to its Robotics and Engineering students. Their engineering programs are competitive, so it is no small feat to get to the point where you are offered a free laptop here, but clearly, all of that hard work pays off. 

Widener was the first in the country to offer an undergraduate robotics degree. It is clear that they have an investment in innovation. 

On top of these offerings, students are given the opportunity to have one year of paid work experience through their co-op program.

  • Because this group must constantly improve their tech skills, many of which require hands-on learning, they are given a laptop to utilize for their course and fieldwork.
  • This tool will enable students to integrate technology into their research and practice. They have a variety of offerings, including excellent financial service offerings, even beyond free laptops for college students in this program. 

As you can see from this extensive list, many online colleges offer laptops for students to use. Whether it’s a computer or an iPad for students to thrive in a particular program or a loaner to use while the student is at the college or university, there are many options. 

It is clear these days that you can’t go far in a career without being up-to-date on technology, and economic access should not be a barrier. Many of these institutions are taking this fact seriously and ensuring their students are on an equal playing field. 

There is something to be said for everyone having the same tools to set a foundation for equal access to learning

Do Colleges Give You Laptops?

It’s true that a lot of the free iPads for students from online programs on this list are offered by the school. However, it’s important to look deeply at all the fees you pay to attend the institution. Sometimes, there are hidden costs associated with enrollment. 

They could be couched as a technology fee or an orientation fee, but that might be where you are paying for the laptop being “given to you.” In other cases, it is truly a gift to ensure you have what you need to participate fully in the programming. 

Person typing on a laptop

Students may also get student discounts to buy their own. In many cases, computers or iPads are distributed to students through colleges that offer free laptops. They are also often streamlined with uploaded software and applications to support the delivery of coursework. 

The device will be integrated into the delivery of the classes. This is applied in a number of ways. Students will utilize their devices to access supplementary lectures, collaborate with peers, take classroom notes, contribute to presentations, take quizzes, and submit work. 

In the case of entirely online classes, everything related to the coursework will be accomplished on the device. With online schools, the equipment basically takes the place of a classroom. It is a window into innovative pedagogy and a tool for communication.

Why Online Colleges Offer Free Laptops

Some schools offer free laptops for a given program (like computer science or technology fields). Many such online programs are specialized and competitive. Some schools only give computers to students who need financial aid to attend. 

This is when it is clearly an effort to close the gap and ensure all students have access to the same resources. Some online programs require students to have a specific tool to make their job easier or even possible. 

Jerome L. Rekart, Ph.D., who has over 15 years of experience in educational research, shared his thoughts with us on one of the main reasons colleges offer free laptops to online students:

“The main benefit to colleges that offer free devices to their online students is that they can reduce time and money spent trying to help students navigate different devices, operating systems, etc. 

This also means that the students then don’t need to worry about whether their personal machine will run the necessary software or has the right version or update. All of this is taken care of for the student, which can make the online experience better for all involved.”

For example, The Duke University Global Health Institute brings students around the world to engage with complex global health issues. The iPads each participant brings with them in the field allow them to focus on their purpose for being there with a synthesis of their tools and resources needed at their fingertips. 

Other online schools provide free laptops to all. In any case, online schools that give free laptops make technology available for learning. Some online colleges with free iPads make sure their students can do the work.

Challenges of Free Laptop Programs

Many of the programs on our list that provide free or discounted laptops are specifically for online or hybrid learning, but that is not the case across the board. Some of the online programs on the list give students a personal device specifically for the time the student is enrolled.

On the other hand, others allow participants to keep the technology even after the program is complete. 

iPads piled on top of each other with a piece of paper taped on each piece
  • These programs have their own offerings and distinctions, so be aware that the same rules do not apply. Some even allow students to choose the technology that would be the most effective for them. 
  • Some colleges that offer free laptops are Mac or PC-specific, while others let students choose their own brand. 
  • Mobile learning has become part of the fabric of many academic programs, so it makes sense that a free iPad for students might come with the territory.

Are the Laptops Really Free?

When a school or educational institution advertises “free laptops” for students, it’s important to understand what that truly entails. In many cases, “free” online colleges with free laptop programs don’t mean there is zero cost involved. Rather, the price of the laptop or tablet is bundled into the overall tuition and fees.

This allows students to obtain the device without paying the total price upfront. Instead, the cost is distributed across tuition payments each semester or academic term. So, while not entirely free, it makes an otherwise expensive laptop purchase more manageable when paid off gradually over time.

  • Online education colleges that offer laptops cover 100% of the cost for students who qualify for technology grants or scholarships specifically designated for that purpose. These competitive awards provide the laptop as an actual gift aid.
  • Most schools charge an explicit “technology fee” for online courses and degree programs. This universal fee helps support the online learning environment and technology infrastructure. Institutions providing free or heavily discounted laptops also allow them to recoup some of those equipment costs.

So, in essence, secured “free” laptops from various educational institutions often still carry some built-in fees. Despite that, opportunities exist for competitive students to obtain one at truly zero cost. A careful review of each program’s fine print is advisable.

Can You Keep the Free Laptop?

The ability for students to permanently keep their “free” laptop after graduating depends on the institution’s specific policies and the laptop provision program. Various schools have different approaches in this regard. 

  • Sometimes, the laptops are essentially leased to students for enrollment. The computers must be returned upon graduation or if the student withdraws/transfers. 
  • Many of these leasing programs allow students to purchase laptops at a discounted rate after they have completed their studies successfully.
  • On the other hand, many colleges that bundle tuition costs treat it more like a financing plan. By paying the technology fees distributed across each semester’s tuition, students gradually pay off the full cost of the laptop over time.
  • Under these arrangements, once a student has fully graduated, they will own the laptop permanently without further payments.
  • Some schools and affordable connectivity programs give free laptops to students as an equity initiative, with no expectation of ever returning the devices. These are treated as true gifts of technology to ensure all students can access the necessary tools.

Regardless of the specific model, most institutions require students to remain actively enrolled and in good academic standing to continue receiving free laptop use each term. Dropping out or transferring typically voids any laptop provision and requires returning the equipment. Carefully reviewing the fine print of each program’s terms is advisable.

Who Is Responsible for the Maintenance of the Laptop?

An issued laptop or tablet is the school’s property while the student is enrolled. For this reason, the school is also responsible for upkeep and technical support. The information technology (IT) department of a school is usually open around the clock for tech assistance. 

IT can also assist with program upgrades and answer questions on appropriate installation or disk space cleanup. Some schools may charge a laptop usage fee that covers maintenance needs. To avoid additional charges, make sure to check the device’s warranty and the school’s terms and conditions. 

What If the Laptop Gets Lost or Stolen?

You need to report theft incidents right away. Remember that you might only have a short window of time to submit a police report. For example, some schools require students to do so within ten days.

Inform the school after submitting the report. Unfortunately, you may need to purchase an expensive replacement PC. The school can assist you in obtaining a loaner laptop and submitting an insurance claim to help with this unforeseen expense.

Man wearing headphones while watching something on his laptop

How to Get a Free Laptop for College

For students seeking a free laptop, one avenue to explore is through their school’s laptop provision programs. Many online colleges with free laptops provide the devices to enrolled students, often pre-loaded with required software and applications. 

These partner institutions have negotiated deals with major manufacturers to supply laptops tailored to each program’s needs at no additional cost. However, even at schools without such arrangements, students may still receive a free laptop through specialized scholarships and grants designated specifically for technology expenses. 

These monetary awards provide gift aid that can cover the full cost of a new laptop purchase. For example, at Wake Forest University, students receiving financial support qualify for a technology grant that can be used to acquire an approved WakeWare laptop model.

Outside of school-based opportunities, students can seek discounts and savings on laptop purchases from manufacturers like Apple, Dell, and HP that offer education pricing deals. Some organizations and tech companies also run annual scholarship competitions where students can apply and compete to win funds to buy a new college laptop.

By thoroughly researching options through their school’s financial aid office, tech manufacturers, and independent sources, students can increase their chances of obtaining a laptop to support their academic pursuits. With some diligence, you can have the best laptop without bearing the entire financial burden.

Where Can I Apply for Laptop Scholarships and Grants?

Aside from laptop provision programs, many colleges and organizations offer scholarships and grants specifically aimed at helping students acquire the necessary technology for their studies. These financial support opportunities can offset the costs of purchasing a laptop, tablet, or other device.

At certain institutions, like Widener University and Indiana University, designated tech scholarships or grants must be used to acquire a computer or related equipment. However, other colleges allow students flexibility in how they choose to allocate such monetary awards.

You can also explore laptop scholarship prospects beyond your college’s financial services by seeking opportunities from major tech manufacturers like Apple and Dell, as well as through independent organizations and online competitions. Several examples include:

  • Dell Scholars Program: This program is for high school seniors enrolled in an approved college readiness program who will begin college the following fall and are eligible for the Pell Grant.
  • Teradatariver Scholarship: Annual essay contest where one winner receives funds to purchase their ideal laptop for college needs.
  • Chickasaw Nation Laptop Scholarship: This scholarship is available to Chickasaw Nation citizens who are college sophomores or above and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

With diligent research, college students can uncover various scholarship and grant opportunities to help make the necessary investment in a quality laptop that meets their academic requirements.

Why Do You Need to Get a Free Laptop in College?

These days, an online program may require students to access lectures, participate in class discussions, take quizzes, and complete assignments on a school-issued computer or mobile device. 

It is becoming more apparent that such devices are transforming how students learn and faculty teach

It might be in your best interest to look deeper into the connections between mobile devices and learning by picking a program that brings this research forward by offering students a personal device of their own. 

If nothing else, look at the online programs that tie this equipment into their coursework. Picking a program offering a fancy device might feel like winning the lottery.

There is something about being at the front lines of education and technical innovation as one of the online colleges that provide laptops.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Laptop for College

When selecting a laptop for college, it’s important to determine your specific needs as a student. When your college can provide free laptops, they will likely meet the minimum requirements. However, if you need to purchase your own laptop, you’ll need to make sure it meets the necessary specifications.

Tablet connected to a laptop through a usb cable

School Requirements

Check your program’s minimum tech requirements, usually listed on the school’s website. You can typically find such information on the program, FAQ, orientation, or admissions pages.

Be prepared to update your system if requirements change during your course of study. You can request help from tech support for upgrades, installation, or troubleshooting.

Laptop Specifications

Device specifications can maximize your device and excel in your professional studies. 

  • Operating system: Some majors may require a specific platform, such as Windows, macOS, or Linux.
  • Processor speed: Consider multicore processors from Intel or AMD.
  • Size and weight: Aim for a lightweight, portable 13- or 14-inch laptop
  • Display resolution: Design majors may need higher resolution with a dedicated graphics card
  • Memory (RAM): at least 4GB of DDR3 RAM is generally sufficient.
  • Long battery life: Look for at least eight hours of battery life, with batteries typically lasting two years.

What Are the Most Popular College Laptops for College Students?

Many colleges partner with popular brands to provide free or discounted devices tailored to students’ needs. While some focus on a single operating system, most online colleges offering laptops give Windows and macOS options. 

The choice often comes down to the student’s academic major, as certain fields gravitate toward one platform:

  • Computer science, engineering programs: Tend to use Windows or Linux
  • Design, communications, creative fields: Often prefer macOS

Though more expensive upfront, Apple computers (Macs) are renowned for user-friendliness, fewer updates needed, and substantial resale value. However, the wealth of Windows software is a significant selling point for PCs. 

Research your specific program’s requirements and finding the right laptop fit can pay dividends. Some of the most popular laptop models for college students include:

  • MacBook Air
  • Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Asus Chromebook Flip C302
  • Lenovo Yoga 730
  • HP Stream 11-Y010NR
  • MacBook Pro

Related Questions

What College Gives You a MacBook?

Chatham University is one of the online colleges that offer MacBooks to students. As part of their program, students at Chatham University pay a fee of $1,335, which includes a personal MacBook Air for each student, along with a four-year AppleCare warranty and accidental damage protection.

Does UCLA Give Free Laptops?

UCLA does not provide free laptops to students. However, they have an affordable connectivity program called BruinTechMapper that provides discounted laptops and internet access to eligible students from low-income backgrounds.

When Do Students Receive Their Free Laptops?

Online universities that provide laptops usually mail the devices to the enrolled students. Note that some colleges may have policies for shipping costs. Meanwhile, on-campus students can frequently pick up their new computers on the first day of classes.


Choosing the right online college with a free laptop offer can be a significant advantage for students, ensuring they have the necessary tools for studying better. With a free laptop, the path to academic success becomes more accessible, enabling you to focus on your coursework without the added financial burden of purchasing expensive technology.

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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

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