Online Colleges That Offer Free Laptops In 2021

A laptop is an important school supply for college students. Here, we outline online colleges that offer laptops in 2021 as well as how to choose a laptop.

November 9, 2021 , Modified on June 9, 2022

Online Colleges That Offer Free Laptops In 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Free Laptops for College

Online students need a reliable computer. With a laptop, students can complete their coursework from anywhere with Wi-Fi.

Some schools offer laptop loaner programs. Participants can check out laptops for the weekend or longer. Other schools give enrollees a discounted laptop for college. Schools may include costs in tuition and fees, which allows students to cover laptop costs with financial aid funds.

Some schools help enrollees by providing a free laptop for college. Learners can save money by researching online colleges that offer laptops in 2021.

Laptop Necessity During COVID-19

COVID-19 school closures led many colleges to create online versions of courses and programs. College professors and students have adapted to online learning platforms and technologies.

Technology spending far exceeded spending on other course materials in 2020, according to the National Association of College Stores. Many schools understand the burden students face when they cannot access campus computers but do not have money to buy a laptop. Some of these schools provide a free laptop for college. Others feature laptop loaner programs to help address this need.

Providing for students' technology needs reduces stress for learners and improves their performance. High-achieving students benefit schools' educational effectiveness and reputations. Online colleges that offer laptops in 2021 prepare enrollees to succeed in their programs.

Where Can I Get a Free Laptop for College?

The list below includes some online colleges that offer laptops in 2021. Each school features different guidelines. Students should carefully review eligibility criteria and contract terms.

Some schools loan laptops until graduation. Then, students own the laptop. Learners who withdraw from these schools may need to return or buy their laptops. Some schools offer a completely free laptop for college. Others charge technology fees to cover the cost.

American National University

Since April 2002, ANU has given free laptops and software to new domestic students. Learners receive the laptops at their homes one week before classes begin.

Online learners can use their laptops to access Zoom software and the Canvas course management system. The devices include software that allow enrollees to access the various resources of ANU's Global eUniversity.

Chatham University

Chatham provides 13-inch MacBook Air laptops, cases, and backpacks to all first-year students. Some transfer students also qualify for a MacBook or MacBook Air. A technology fee covers computer and services costs. Learners own their MacBooks when they graduate.

The Undergraduate 1:1 Program provides warranty, damage, and theft protection. Program participants can also access Chatham's helpdesk repair services.

Dakota State University

DSU has provided new laptops to full-time, first-year students since 2004. DSU configures these Fujitsu T Series laptops to accommodate DSU academic programs. The laptops include licensed software and provide access to secure campus networks. They also include replacement batteries and warranty protection. Students can access an on-campus helpdesk and laptop repair services.

Once DSU enrollees reach 59 credits, they can buy their laptop at market value or opt out of the program. Learners who choose to use their own computers need comparable devices.

Full Sail University

Full Sail gives enrollees an Apple MacBook Pro through Apple's Project LaunchBox. Students pursuing software development, game development, or simulation and visualization degrees receive HP laptops. Specific software and hardware varies by program.

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 pre-installed app that allows users to download software and access campus resources. Software options include Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, and signature Apple software.

AppleCare+ warranties cover hardware and software. However, accidental damage is not covered. Moravian's IT help desk provides technical troubleshooting.

University of Minnesota Crookston

UMC has given laptops to on-campus students and faculty since 1993. The school provides 14-inch HP Elitebooks that can function in laptop or tablet mode.

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. They then receive a bill for the market value, plus late fees.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest enrollees can buy a discounted laptop through the WakeWare program. Financial aid recipients qualify for a technology grant that covers standard WakeWare laptop costs. Laptops include free academic software, including Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud. These laptops also feature extended four-year warranties and insurance, including accidental damage protection.

Students who bring personal computers must ensure their devices meet minimum configuration requirements. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Laptop

Learners should consider many factors when choosing a laptop. Start by listing how you plan to use the device. Check with your prospective schools about the programs and applications you may need.

Technical requirements vary by major. Computer-related majors usually need more powerful central processing units (CPUs). Read on for some considerations when choosing a laptop.

1. Price

Laptop prices vary widely. Your budget may influence your device choice. Learners on a budget should avoid buying expensive devices unless they need advanced features.

Students may find Apple devices more user-friendly and long-lasting. However, MacBooks can cost more than other laptops. Take time to compare prices. Explore used-device options. You can also consider applying to online colleges that offer laptops in 2021.

2. Processor and RAM

Students in non-computer-related majors may only need their laptop for basic tasks. For example, they may only use their laptop for word processing or running their schools' academic software. These enrollees do not need laptops with the best CPUs.

Computers' Random Access Memory (RAM) stores recently used data to allow faster access to that information later. Laptops with over 10 gigabytes (GBs) of RAM work quickly. Laptops with fewer than eight GBs of RAM may operate slower.

3. Storage

Computers also contain long-term memory. This allows users to store data they do not need often. Data lives on hard disk drives, solid-state drives (SSDs), or hybrid drives. SSD storage allows faster access and start-up. Users often find these computers more durable and reliable because they lack moving parts.

College students in many majors get by with 256GB-512GB storage. However, art, engineering, and computer science majors work with large file sizes and may need one terabyte of storage. Some devices allow learners to upgrade their storage when necessary.

4. Battery Life

Laptop life varies. Laptop size influences battery life. Mid-size and larger laptops may only last 4-6 hours. Smaller-screen or lighter laptops' batteries often last up to 10 hours because they use lower voltage processors.

Students should research battery life by reading online reviews. They can also review manufacturers' websites.

5. Size

Most laptops are 11-17 inches. Size affects price, battery life, and mobility. Smaller-screen laptops often cost and weigh less. This makes them easier to afford and transport. Smaller laptops' batteries may also last longer than larger devices' batteries. Many students buy mid-size laptops with 15-inch screens.

Larger laptops feature more power. They work better for computer majors or art majors. Video editors and gamers may also benefit from a 17-inch laptop with high processing power.

Other Resources to Help Pay for Laptops

Students who do not receive a free laptop for college can explore the resources below. Companies like Apple and Best Buy offer students educational discounts. Nonprofits such as Notebooks for Students and Computers With Causes provide donated, recycled computers to eligible candidates.

These discounted laptop offers and programs may require proof of enrollment or financial need. See below for some affordable laptop options.

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