Online Colleges That Provide Free Laptops

Online colleges that provide laptops help students reduce their schooling costs. Connect with schools and programs that offer this valuable perk to learners.

Updated June 14, 2024

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Disclosure: This webpage may mention the possibility of free laptop programs at 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 free laptop programs are subject to change and may vary between institutions. For the most accurate information, please consult with schools directly.

The virtual classroom offers increased convenience and scheduling flexibility. However, it can also carry hidden costs: You need a capable computer, and suitable devices can be expensive. Online colleges that provide laptops can help you make the most of your education budget.

Computing equipment can add significantly to your overall online schooling costs. For example, PCMag's top college laptop picks for 2024 have price tags in excess of $2,200. By finding schools that offer students free or discounted laptops, you can get the high-performing technology you need without blowing your budget.

Where Can I Get a Free Laptop for College?

If you attend college online, you'll need a reliable computer or laptop to attend lectures, participate in discussions, and complete assignments. Several colleges and universities make online learning more accessible by providing learners with discounted or free laptops throughout their programs.

Schools with free laptop programs typically include no-cost technical support and repairs to keep students connected. While some schools give laptops to all enrollees, most have some restrictions on who can receive a computer, such as offering them only to undergraduate students or IT majors.

Explore the following schools with free or discounted laptop programs.

Bethel University

Bethel gives all incoming undergraduate students a free laptop or Chromebook, which they must pick up during their first semester. Learners can access the school's help desk for troubleshooting their laptops during regular business hours. The school's library also allows students to check out laptops for in-library use.

Dakota State University

DSU has provided new laptops to full-time, first-year students since 2004. The Dell Latitude 7440 two-in-one laptops include licensed software. The school also offers replacement batteries and warranty protection. Enrollees can access an on-campus help desk and laptop repair services.

Full Sail University

Full Sail gives learners access to discipline-specific devices — including laptops — through the school's Project LaunchBox. Project LaunchBox kits offer affordable pricing for students and are included in tuition, so financial aid may cover the cost.

Moravian University

Moravian provides all incoming students with MacBook Pro laptops and iPads. IT staff help learners set up these devices. The MacBook features a preinstalled app that allows users to access campus resources and download software programs like Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. AppleCare+ warranties cover hardware and software issues but not accidental damage.

Ohio State University

Actively enrolled OSU students can request a loaner Microsoft Surface or iPad if they don't have outstanding technology fees. Learners must return or renew their devices at the end of each semester. Discounted laptops are also available for purchase through OSU's Tech Hub.

Seton Hall University

Seton Hall's Mobile Computing Program provides all full-time undergraduate enrollees free laptops before starting their first semester. Laptops include professional software, like Canvas and Microsoft Office, which students can learn to use via free training from the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center. All laptops include free online or in-person technical support.

University of Arkansas Grantham

UA Grantham's new and returning degree-seeking students can receive a Lenovo laptop for free within the first few weeks of classes. Students must order their laptops after receiving instructions from the school. Full-scholarship students may not qualify for free laptops.

University of Minnesota Crookston

UMC has given laptops to on-campus students and faculty since 1993. The school provides HP Elitebook x360 two-in-one devices that can function in laptop and tablet modes. UMC's Campus Notebook Program issues laptops to new and returning students at the start of each semester. Enrollees must return these university-owned laptops if they withdraw.

Students who do not return these laptops incur fees for six weeks. If not returned after six weeks, learners receive a bill for the device's market value and late fees.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest enrollees can buy discounted laptops through the WakeWare program. Financial aid recipients can qualify for technology grants. Students can also access free academic software through the school's software download hub, including Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. Wake Forest laptops feature extended four-year warranties and insurance, including accidental damage protection.

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Laptop

Learners should consider many factors when choosing a laptop for college. Start by understanding how you plan to use the device — check with prospective schools about the programs and applications you may need, as technical requirements vary by major. For example, computer science majors usually need more powerful central processing units (CPUs) to run resource-intensive programs.

Read on for factors to consider when choosing a laptop.

  1. 1


    While laptop prices vary, they typically depend on performance specs and capabilities. Brand name recognition can also play a role, especially for tech companies that have actively curated a premium image.

    There's often more to the story than sticker price: For instance, some manufacturers offer more complete, inclusive, and hassle-free warranty programs than others. Consider this as you perform your price research.

  2. 2

    Processor and RAM

    Random access memory (RAM) processes the data your computer needs to run apps, stream media, browse the internet, and carry out other active tasks. More RAM is generally better, but machines with a lot of RAM usually have higher price tags.

    For online learning, Intel recommends having computers with 8-16 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Because you need a computer to last through multiple years of schooling, choosing a high-performance device can ensure you keep up with changing and advancing learning technologies.

  3. 3


    ASUS, a leading laptop manufacturer, recommends that college students purchase devices with at least 512 GB of storage space. If you're going to rely exclusively on your computer for storage instead of the cloud, storage in the 1 terabyte range may be a better option.

    Depending on your program or major, you may require more storage. If your field of study uses media-rich formats like videos or interactive content, choose a laptop with a higher storage capacity or one that allows for later storage upgrades.

  4. 4

    Battery Life

    According to Asurion, laptops typically last about 3-10 hours on a single full charge. However, battery life can be tricky to gauge, as some applications drain your battery faster than others. Lots of factors affect how long a battery's charge lasts, including the device's size, weight, and performance settings.

  5. 5


    One of online learning's biggest perks is that you can learn from anywhere your laptop can go. The smaller and lighter your laptop, the more portable it will be. Laptop screens usually fall in the range of 11-17 inches. While screen size comes down to personal preference, students may find that larger screens support a more fluid learning experience.

Best Laptops for Online College Students
Laptop Type Laptop Model
Best MacBook MacBook Air M2
Best Windows Laptop Surface Pro 9
Best Budget Laptop Acer Aspire 5
Best 2-in-1 Laptop Lenovo Yoga 9i
Best Chromebook HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook

Other Programs for Free or Low-Cost College Laptops

Not able to get a laptop through school? Don't worry. Educational nonprofits, programs, and scholarships also provide free or low-cost laptops to students in need.

Computers With Causes

Computers With Causes offers a free laptop program that links eligible students to refurbished laptops at no cost. This popular nonprofit organization does not maintain specific eligibility criteria. To apply, explain your need by filling out a form.

Dell Scholars

Each year, the Dell Scholars program awards 500 college undergraduates a scholarship that includes $20,000 in direct aid, a $2,000 credit towards textbooks, and a free Dell laptop. To qualify, you need a minimum 2.4 high school GPA. You must also qualify for a federal Pell Grant for your first year of college.

On It Foundation

If you're a college-bound graduating high school student from a low-income family, you may qualify for a free laptop from the On It Foundation. This registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization provides K-12 students from families of socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds with no-cost computer technologies.


Compudot offers free giveaways of refurbished computers. To qualify, your household must lack a functioning computer.

FAFSA and Pell Grants

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federal Pell Grant programs also offer funding you can use to get a laptop for school. You receive automatic consideration for a Pell Grant when you submit your FAFSA form, and you can use any aid you receive through approved grants or loans to buy a new computer.

Common Questions About Online Colleges That Provide Laptops

Do online colleges give you a laptop?

Some online colleges provide free laptops to all enrolled students, while others limit these programs to enrollees who meet eligibility criteria. These policies vary: At some schools, you automatically qualify as a full-time student, while other institutions require you to be a financial aid recipient. Check with your school for details.

Do students get to keep the laptop after graduation?

Whether you get to keep your free laptop after graduation depends on your school's policies. Some institutions consider the laptop a gift, allowing you to keep it after you graduate. Others ask students to return their laptops so the school can refurbish and redistribute the devices to new students.

What if the laptop is damaged or stolen?

Online colleges that provide laptops usually consider the computer to be the school's property while you use it, allowing them to cover devices under their insurance. However, insurance policies vary among institutions. Ask about your school's regulations when you receive your free laptop.

How do I get a laptop for free from the government?

As a college student, the most direct way to get a no-cost laptop from the government is to qualify for a federal Pell Grant and use the proceeds to buy a new computer. The federal government's Affordable Connectivity Program, which offered free laptops to qualified applicants, stopped accepting applications in February 2024.

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