Online Colleges That Offer Laptops

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Best Online Colleges That Offer Laptops: 2016-2017

Covering the cost of tuition, textbooks, and necessary technology may seem overwhelming for prospective students. To help students reach their academic goals while alleviating some of the financial strain, various colleges offer laptop programs for students. Most programs either gift a laptop or tablet to incoming freshman, offer student discounts to use towards a laptop or tablet, or loan a device to students during their enrollment. View the best online colleges that offer laptop programs for 2016-2017 below.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
1 Seton Hall University
99.78 97% 12 14:1 67%

The Mobile Computing Program at Seton Hall University is a laptop-lending program on campus for all students. At the freshmen level, students receive their first laptop that is checked-in and out every semester and preloaded with various software, including Microsoft Office and Windows 8.1. After two years of education utilizing the same laptop, students “refresh” their laptop and receive a new technology-advanced computer that students keep upon graduation from SHU. Laptops offered within the program are PCs, except for students in the department of information and technology who receive MacBook Pros at the junior level.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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2 University of Wisconsin-Stout
99.49 23% 19 20:1 52%

The University of Wisconsin Stout features a laptop program called eStout. The eStout program is designed for undergraduate students and for "special students" who are not seeking a degree yet meet other qualifications. Graduates and online students do not qualify. Students receive a university administered computer, either a PC or Mac depending the program of study, that must exchanged for the newest model once the laptop is two-years old. The laptops in the program are not available for purchase, unless the student has met UW-Stout's criteria for eligibility and is graduating. Students must return the laptop to the university by a specified date.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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3 SUNY College at Oswego
99.36 77% 7 18:1 58%

Students at the University of New York Oswego campus can buy their school laptop through SUNY Oswego's laptop purchase program. This program benefits students and parents with high education costs by charging half the price for the laptop at the time of purchase and the remaining portion appears on the student's tuition bill at the end of the year, no interest accrued. On campus, students can access free technical support for laptops purchased through the program. Presently students can purchase either the Dell Latitude E5470 or the less powerful Dell Chromebook 11. Students can agree to a rental contract for the Dell Latitude model.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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4 Northwest Missouri State University
99.35 93% 8 24:1 52%

During their education at Northwest Missouri State University, all students can receive a loaned laptop through the campus laptop program. In order to partake in the program free of charge, the student must agree to the terms of the contract and return to the laptop to the university by the date indicated. Students are encouraged to backup their personal information as once a laptop is returned, previous data is erased. The computer capacity a student receives depends upon availability and also the demands of the student's major. Current computer models are an HP Elitebook 840c and an HP 6455 both with Windows 7 operating system.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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5 Chatham University
99.22 1% 5 9:1 59%

Incoming students entering a full-time undergraduate program are eligible to receive a MacBook Air laptop at Chatham University through the school's Undergraduate 1:1 Program. In addition to a new computer, students will also receive a protective laptop case and backpack complete with Chatham University logos. The laptop will also come with 4-year AppleCare Warranty and SafeWare damage and theft protection. Students will also have access to the school's Helpdesk Repair Services. Transfer students may also qualify to receive a computer if they meet the minimum requirements.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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6 University of Valley Forge
99.13 93% 7 12:1 47%

The Connect2 program at the University of Valley Forge is a mandatory laptop program for all full-time undergraduate bachelor students. At the freshmen level, students opt for either a MacBook Pro or Dell Latitude laptop and pay a Connect2 fee each semester until graduation. The computer is considered university property until the student graduates and completes eight semesters of laptop payment. Included within the Connect2 program is Microsoft Office 365, anti-virus software, on-campus technical support and the most up-to-date version of Windows or Mac operating system. Digital media students automatically receive MacBook Pros while business students mandatorily receive Dell Latitude laptops.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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7 Morningside College
99.09 99% 5 13:1 59%

At Morningside College located in Sioux City, students are issued two laptops at no charge during their education. Full-time undergraduate students are provided a MacBook Air during their freshmen year and after two years of study receive a new MacBook that the student will keep upon graduation. The first laptop will be returned to the university and recycled within the program. These computers can come with either traditional Apple OS or Windows 10 operating system installed and may be repaired on campus for any accidental damages or malfunctions. For major laptop issues, students can rent an interim computer from the student center.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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8 Independence University
99.00 28% 14 25:1 N/A

With roots in education dating back to 1891, Independence University today is an online degree college headquartered in Utah. Students can earn a degree in business, healthcare, graphic arts or technology completely online. To support distance and modern learning, Independence University supplies a tablet and laptop computer included in the tuition price to students. Students are first mailed the tablet at the start of their education and receive a laptop with preinstalled software needed for degree completion about halfway through the program. When students successfully complete their degree programs, they can keep the provided tablet and laptop.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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9 Southern Nazarene University
98.83 95% 5 15:1 40%

At Southern Nazarene University, eligible students are able to receive a laptop through the school's laptop program. To be eligible for a computer, a student just needs to reach full-time student status and will receive their laptop during the New Student Institute, an informative orientation designed for incoming students. Laptops are given to students at no cost or additional fees. Upon graduation, students are able to keep their laptop program computer. Students also have access to technical support at the Laptop Center.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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10 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
98.53 99% 6 16:1 62%

Located in Minneapolis, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota encourages students to incorporate technology into their education by providing online students enrolled in fully online graduate degrees with an iPad. Upon receiving the iPad, students will be able to access pre-loaded productivity apps and mobile learning platforms. This program provides online students with reliable technology that may help them succeed in their graduate degree programs. Through the mobile classroom on their iPad, students can access e-textbooks, video conferencing, discussion boards and collaborative platforms to work with peers.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Online Colleges that Offer Laptops

And How to Choose – and Find Funding for – the Right Laptop if They Don’t

Laptops are the technological tool of choice among college students today. It should come as no surprise then that – according to a 2014 survey by computer company AMD – nearly 85 percent of college students report using a laptop for classwork, research and assignments. The same survey reports that 41 percent of students regard their laptops as their most prized possession, even above their phones and cars. Despite the prevalence of laptops on the college campus, costs can be prohibitive, and make it difficult for already financially-stressed students to afford what is increasingly becoming a necessary tool. Thankfully, many colleges are recognizing this need, and financial aid programs have begun to spring up to help students afford the costs of laptops and other technology.

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Choosing the Right Laptop for Your Needs

The same laptop will not work for every college major or student. For example, a graphic design student needs a high-graphics laptop, complete with editing software and a powerful processor. A political science student needs a much less powerful laptop. Students should consider what they need the laptop to do, what software programs they will need and their target budget before shopping for a laptop computer.

Arts, Film, Graphics Design
Need :
  • Graphics and animation support

  • Fast CPU

  • Ability to run Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Final Cut Pro.

Laptop: Mac. Example: MacBook Pro

IT and Engineering
Need :
  • High-speed processing

  • Ability to use AutoCAD software

  • Create spreadsheet and run program simulations.

Laptop: PC. Example: Lenovo ThinkPad

Non-Tech Student
Need :
  • Word processing software

  • Moderate hard drive storage

  • Wireless Internet card.

Laptop: Chromebook. Example: GP Chromebook 11

If you do not need a high-powered laptop, the following key features should be powerful enough for most college-related applications:

  • Wi-Fi readiness: minimum 802.11g Dual-Band wireless card

  • Lightweight for easy portability: 3-5 lbs

  • Screen resolution: minimum 1024×768

  • Ram: minimum 4 GB (8 or more is best)

  • Hard drive: minimum of 128GB solid state drive or 250GB hard disk drive

  • Backlit keyboard with a number pad

  • Battery life: minimum 4 hours

  • Ports: At least two USB 3.0 and an HDMI

  • Screen: 11 inch minimum

  • Operating system minimums: Mac OS 10.6, Windows 8.1

PC vs Mac

Since the invention of the personal computer, there has been extensive debate over whether the PC or a Mac is the better option. Today, there is little difference in capabilities between the two – except where it concerns software. Mac computers are typically loaded with software designed for creative applications (like video editing and audio recording); personal computers are usually come stocked with software designed for business use, such as spreadsheet programs and word processors.

Other Tech

Students also depend on other portable electronics during class, such as, tablets, smartphones, e-readers or hybrid machines. According to a 2015 report from PC Magazine, tablets are useful as secondary devices, but have limited software selection and processing power. However, students have successfully used tablets and other devices for classwork without the need for laptops or traditional desktop computers, depending on their majors and course requirements.

Before You Buy

Shopping for a notebook? Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Do you offer student discounts?

  • Do you offer payment plans?

  • What kind of warranty comes with the laptop?

  • What is the laptop’s processing power?

  • How long is the battery life?

  • Can additional RAM or a larger hard drive be added?

  • What kind of wireless card is installed?

  • Does the laptop have a dual-band wireless card?

  • What is the screen size and resolution?

  • What software comes installed on the laptop?

  • What kind of DVD, optical, Blu-Ray, player/burner does it have?

  • How many USB ports does the laptop have?

  • Are the USB ports 3.0?

  • Does the computer have a dedicated graphics processor? (Especially important for design students.

Comparing Top Picks

LAPTOPS

Laptops range widely in price with the least expensive priced at just under $200 and the most expensive topping $3,000 in 2015. A typical student probably will not have to pay over $800 for a laptop used for college coursework.

PC Magazine recommends the following laptops for college students in 2015:

Product Tech PC Mag Score Price Screen size Weight RAM
Asus Chromebook Flip (C100PA-DB02) Chrome OS $239 10.1 inches 1.96 lbs. 4 GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s Microsoft Windows $1,254.99 14 inches 3.5 lbs. 8 GB
Acer Aspire E5-573G-57HR Microsoft Windows $554.99 15. 6inches 5.29 lbs. 8 GB
Alienware 15 Microsoft Windows $1,899.99 15.6 inches 7.1 lbs. 16 GB
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch Mac OS X $894.78 13.3 inches 2.96 lbs. 4 GB
Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch, Retina Display Mac OS X $1,234.99 13.3 inches 3.48 lbs. 8 GB
Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 (7350) Microsoft Windows $1,549 13.3 inches 1.92 lbs. 8 GB
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series (E7450) Microsoft Windows $1,368.30 14 inches 3.59 lbs. 8 GB
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 Microsoft Windows $1,572.99 12.5 inches 3.48 lbs. 8 GB
MSI GT72 Dominator Pro G-1438 Microsoft Windows $2,099 17. 3 inches 8.5 pounds 16 GB
TABLETS & READERS

Tablets and e-readers are also popular choices for college students. A 2013 survey conducted by Pearson Education revealed that over half of college students claim they perform better in the classroom because of tablets. Two-thirds of students surveyed believe the tablet will replace printed textbooks in the near future. Nearly 90 percent of college students own laptops, Pearson found, but almost 40 percent of college students own a tablet.

Tablets are limited in processing power and may not be suitable when visual design, animation, data crunching or academic research is required.

PC Magazine selected these top-performing tablets for 2015:

Product Tech PC Mag Score Price Dimensions Weight Storage Capacity
Apple iPad Air Apple iOS $339 9.7 inches 16.86 oz 16 GB
Apple iPad Air 2 Apple iOS 8 $449.88 9.7 inches 0.96 lb 16, 64, 128 GB
Asus Transformer Book T100TA (64GB) Microsoft Windows $256 10.1 inches 1.44/2.4 lb 64 GB
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Android 4.4 $399 8.4 inches 11.68 oz 16 GB
Apple iPad mini 2 Apple iOS $259 7.9 inches 11.68 oz 16, 32 GB
Asus VivoTab Note 8 Microsoft Windows $289.99 8 inches 0.85 lb 32 GB
Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series (7140) Microsoft Windows $799 10.8 inches 1.6 lb 128 GB
Microsoft Surface 3 Microsoft Windows 8.1 $599.99 10.8 inches 1.37 lb 128 GB
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Android 4.4 $448.99 10.5 inches 16.47 oz 16 GB
Google Nexus 9 Android 5.0 $305.37 8.9 inches 14.99 oz 16, 32 GB

SMARTPHONES

A 2014 survey from Infographics Commons found that many college students use their phones to study. The survey indicated that 65 percent of college students rely on phones to get their news and 82 percent use their phones for research. Students also use smartphones to take lecture notes, dictate papers, use scientific calculators, coordinate their school calendars and streamline study time.

PC Magazine recommends these smartphones for 2015:

Product Tech PC Mag Score Price Dimensions Battery Life Screen Size
Apple iPhone 6s (T-Mobile) iOS 9 $649 5.44 by 2.64 by 0.28 inches 4 hours 21 (LTE streaming) minutes 4.7 inches
Apple iPhone 6s Plus (AT&T) iOS 9 $799.99 6.23 by 3.07 by 0.29 inches 4 hours 11 (LTE streaming) minutes 5.5 inches
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (Unlocked) Android 5.1 $399.99 6.06 by 3.0 by 0.44 inches 4 hours, 42 (LTE video streaming) minutes 5.7 inches
OnePlus 2 (Unlocked) Android 5.1 $329 5.98 by 2.95 by 0.39 inches 5 hours, 19 (LTE video streaming) minutes 5.5 inches
Samsung Galaxy S6 (T-Mobile) Android 5.0 $579.99 5.65 by 2.78 by 0.27 inches 7 hours, 48 (LTE video streaming) minutes 5.1 inches
Alcatel One Touch Idol 3 (Unlocked) Android 5.0 $279.99 6.01 by 2.96 by 0.29 inches 4 hours, 12 (LTE video streaming) minutes 5.5 inches
Motorola Moto G (2015, Unlocked) Android 5.0 $149.99 5.59 by 2.85 by 0.48 inches 6 hours, 32 (LTE video streaming) minutes 5 inches
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (Verizon Wireless) Android 5.0 $349.99 6 by 3 by 0.3 inches 7 hours 35 (LTE video streaming) minutes 5.7 inches
ZTE Grand X Max+ (Cricket Wireless) Android 4.4 $199.99 6.38 by 3.27 by 0.31 inches 5 hours, 49 (LTE video streaming) minutes 6 inches
HTC One (M8) for Windows (Verizon Wireless) Windows Phone 8.1 $480 5.7 by 2.8 by 0.37 inches 10 hours, 50 minutes 5 inches

Other Resources to Help Pay for Laptops

Many top computer and software manufacturers, big-box stores and resellers offer student discounts on technology. Some companies may require students to join a consumer club, and other companies may offer free trial programs for software or services. NOTE: Students must provide a student ID or an .edu email address when applying for most discount programs.

  • Amazon Student

    is offered to students through a free six-month trial through Amazon Prime, with exclusive promotions in technology, two-day shipping and access to movies, TV shows and music. After the trial, Prime membership costs students $49 per year.

  • Apple Store for Education

    offers student discounts up to $20 on a new iPad and $200 on a new Mac computer.

  • Best Buy College Student Deals

    sends e-mail updates regarding upcoming sales. Recent specials included a $50 discount on iMacs and MacBooks, including free shipping. Students can also save $80 on the Microsoft Surface 3 128GB, keyboard and pen package.

  • Dell University

    is Dell Computer’s online membership purchasing club for college and university students. Discounts are available for desktops, laptops, gaming PCs and monitors. All Dell PCs come with a one-year warranty.

  • HP Academy

    offers members savings up to 20 percent on HP products, free shipping and student-tailored product recommendations through its free PC MatchLab service.

  • InterConnection

    is a charitable computer reuse organization designed to help students find PCs, Macs, laptops and monitors. A refurbished laptop including Windows 7 Pro, Office Home 2007, Wi-Fi Card, Spyware and Antivirus software sold for $99 in 2015.

  • Lenovo’s Academic Purchase Program

    offers discount tablets with prices reduced by as much 47 percent. Laptops are up to 53 percent off of Lenovo’s original list pricing.

  • Newegg

    ’s student-only store offers deep discounts on new or refurbished notebooks, tablets and other electronics to members. Students need an .edu email address to apply. Students can get up to $100 off a new Surface Pro 3 through the program.

  • Notebooks for Students

    (NSF) is a nonprofit organization created by students for students in 1998 as a way to provide students with dependable, powerful laptops at affordable prices. Deep discounts are available through the program on select computers.

  • Sony Education Store

    offers 10 percent-discount student deals on Xperia tablets, laptops and smart devices. Students must provide student ID to qualify for student discounts.