Can I Get a Laptop for Free Online Courses?

Technology inclusion and innovation are driving forces in today’s world of postsecondary learning, both in the traditional classroom format and in the virtual learning sphere. As you probably have noticed, there is so much online learning embedded into most institutions these days, not to mention full online degree programming and even entire schools that only have an office for their headquarters, but no campus. It makes sense that you might be wondering how to get a free iPad for students, or what colleges offer free laptops. These are good questions, as there are some freebies out there for both technologies and for classes. It might, however, feel like a needle in a haystack to find them. Let’s get started looking deeper. 

What are Free Online Courses? 

Well, generally when people think of free online classes, we go straight to the concept of Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs. There are some key platforms that offer such opportunities, but the part that piques the interest of many is that so many of the actual classes come out of elite universities. That’s right, these are free classes on a variety of topics, taught from some of the Ivy League and top campuses in the country. For MOOCs, there is no application process and often very few stipulations. On occasion, there is a small fee, especially if you are participating in an entire program. Many of the actual classes, however, are completely free. This can be seen as a form of continuing education, or a way to expand on a degree, but you can also use a MOOC to obtain a certificate that offers employability in a given field. There are several platforms that offer MOOCs. Many of these, “non-students” turn to brush up on their skills, or as a way to learn something new. It is also considered “social learning,” and can be an excellent way to build a virtual community. 

There are some post-secondary institutions out there that offer free tuition, but you might find better luck turning to a MOOC if you are hoping to not drop a dime on education. Ultimately, it is not hard to find free or cheap ways to learn. This is not to say free tuition doesn’t exist. It does at some institutions; often those schools, however, are quite competitive. Back to trying to find a free computer or iPad for students. Take a look at these schools that offer free technology. There are many out there but always read the fine print. 

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Can I Keep My Free Laptop? 

It’s important to get deep and make sure you understand all of the stipulations prior to thinking you have a free $3,000 piece of technology. Many programs that offer free machines expect them back at the end of your tenure at the given school. Basically, it is a loaner for the time you are there, even if you are allowed to personalize the software and settings. They will be washed clean and reset for the next user when you walk across that aisle with a cap and gown. Some of the programs, however, let you keep the computer or iPad, as long as you graduate. I have noticed that the fine print often states that the machine must be returned, if you don’t complete the program, within 30 days of your exit. There are some programs that will give you an opportunity to earn a computer. They give you access to community service opportunities, and if you complete a certain amount of hours, the computer is yours. This is not only through academic institutions, but there are offerings of the like that are community-based

If you dig deep, there is a world of opportunity out there, with many options to not spend money, or break the bank, as it were. Take your time to see what is out there, and make sure you know the rules. This is the perfect time in the world to take some extra classes and brush up on your skills. Maybe you will walk away with a prize like a new iPad or a laptop, or maybe you will find the perfect program that will have it all.

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