How to Get a Free Laptop for College | Grants, Giveaways, Scholarships

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How to Get a Free Laptop for College? Starting college is an exciting time filled with new experiences and challenges. One tool that can make your academic journey smoother is a laptop. It’s essential for everything from researching for your assignments to staying in touch with new friends and family back home.

You May be Eligible for a Free College Laptop

Qualifying criteria for a free laptop might vary depending on the organization or program providing the laptops. These scholarships are usually given to students from low-income households. Students with exceptional grades are some common factors that organizations often consider when selecting students to receive free laptops:

Internal School Programs

Financially qualifying for a free laptop for college can depend on several factors, including your financial need, your enrollment status, and the resources available through your educational institution.  Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Check With the Financial Aid Office: Many colleges and universities have financial aid resources beyond tuition and books. Some even offer loaner or free laptops to students who demonstrate a need.
  2. Consult Your Department: Some academic departments offer resources to students, including laptops, to help them succeed in their coursework.
  3. Explore Work-Study Programs: Some college work-study programs include benefits like laptops for participants.
  4.  Exceptional Academic Performance:  Some programs might consider a student’s academic achievements, such as GPA or class ranking, to ensure the laptop goes to a committed and dedicated learner.
  5. Enrollment Status:  Students currently enrolled in an educational institution, such as a college or university, are often prioritized to ensure that the laptop is used for educational purposes.
  6. First-Generation in College:  Programs might focus on students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education, as these individuals often face unique challenges.
  7. Letters of Recommendation:  Recommendations from teachers, counselors, or mentors might play a role in the selection process.

External Programs and Grants

  1. Fill Out the FAFSA: Qualification for many financial aid programs starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You’ll need to do this to demonstrate financial need.
  2. Search for Grants and Scholarships: Some grants and scholarships are geared towards getting students the technology they need for college.
  3. Non-Profit Organizations: Some non-profit organizations aim to help disadvantaged students by providing them with the tools they need for success, including laptops.
  4. Underrepresented communities:  Initiatives might aim to increase diversity by offering laptops to students from underrepresented racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds.
  5. Show Financial Need:  Whether for a non-profit organization or your college, you’ll usually need to provide documents showing your financial need. This can include your FAFSA results, tax returns, or even a letter explaining your financial situation.
  6. Essay or Application:  Some organizations require students to write an article or complete an application that explains their need for a laptop and how it would benefit their education.

12 Organizations that May Give Computers to College Students

Getting a laptop for college can be a financial burden for many students. Still, there are organizations out there willing to help. If you’re in need, here are 15 organizations that give laptops to college students.

1.  On It Foundation

This organization provides free computers to low-income families, often including college students.

2.  Computers With Causes

This charity gifts laptops to students to help them succeed in their education.

3.  Goodwill Industries

Believe it or not, Goodwill often partners with corporations to offer computers and laptops at significantly reduced prices. They sometimes even provide them for free to those in need.

4.  Notebooks for Students

This non-profit offers students new, refurbished, and discounted laptops; in exceptional cases, they can even provide one for free.

5.  EveryoneOn

They work with multiple partners to offer affordable computers and Internet to low-income families, including college students.

6.  World Computer Exchange

Although primarily focused on developing countries, they occasionally offer programs in the U.S. for underprivileged students.

7.  Computers 4 Kids

This organization focuses explicitly on giving computers to school and college students who can’t afford them.

8.  Computer Recycling Center

They offer a program called “Computers & Education” that gives free or low-cost computers to students.

9.  InterConnection

This organization provides free laptops to students who demonstrate a specific need.

10.  PCs for People

Offers free or low-cost computers for students and families below the 200% poverty level.

11.  With Causes

This charitable organization offers laptops to college students who can present a case of genuine need.

12.  Microsoft Registered Refurbishers

It is not a non-profit, but it offers refurbished, low-cost laptops with updated software for educational use

13.  Net Literacy

This organization has a program where they distribute repurposed laptops to those in need, including students.

If you find yourself in a tough spot financially, look into these organizations. Many of them require an application and some proof of financial need, but they’re great resources to help you get the tech you need for school.

How Dell Helps with Laptops, Etc.

Annually, the Dell Scholars Program offers a multifaceted package to support the higher education journey of high school graduates. This package includes a financial scholarship for thousands of complimentary laptops and credits for textbooks via Chegg.

Furthermore, the program provides professional and personal resources to guide scholars through challenges often accompanying collegiate life. The application window typically opens in October for high school seniors with aspirations of attending college. Eligibility criteria include possessing a minimum GPA of 2.4 and qualifying for the federal Pell Grant.


Additionally, applicants must be on course to complete high school in the same academic year they submit their application. They must intend to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program directly post-graduation.

Colleges that Have Free Laptop or Loaner Programs

Duke University: Duke University offers students a free MacBook Pro or Dell laptop in the Trinity (Arts & Sciences) or Pratt (Engineering) Colleges. Students must be able to show financial need through their FAFSA records to receive a laptop.

St. John’s University: You must be enrolled as an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. You must be registered for at least 12 credits a semester and apply within six weeks of the semester. Once you obtain your degree, the computer is yours to keep.

Seton Hall University: You will participate in the Mobile Computing Program as a full-time student at Seton Hall. All participants will be issued a laptop before the start of the Fall semester. To receive your laptop, you will need to complete the following forms.

Cleveland State University: CSU’s laptop loaner program allows attending students to borrow tablets and laptops.  Some degrees are exempt from this program.  Please check with the registrar’s office for more details.

Stevens Institute of Technology: Stevens does not have a free laptop program but allows you to purchase Apple computers and accessories at a discount.

Full Sail University: Full Sail’s Project LaunchBox initiative provides all students laptops to students in creative programs.  Some degrees are exempt from the program.

Long Island University: LIU’s computer labs are open to all students.  No free laptops, but you can borrow one for up to twenty-four hours.

Oklahoma State University: OSU’s Cowboy Quality Initiative offers laptops to eligible students. Edmon Low Library lets you borrow laptops from the Circulation Desk. You can use these laptops and their accessories anywhere on campus.

Northwestern University: Northwestern offers a 4-year loaner laptop program for needy students.

Florida State University:  This university offers a loaner to students and staff for laptops, headphones, and large print keyboards.  They can be checked out at the library desk.

Please note that these examples might not be up-to-date or comprehensive, so verify the current laptop offerings with the respective colleges’ official websites or admissions offices.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, securing a free laptop for college is a reasonable goal if you take the proper steps and know where to look. Whether through your educational institution’s financial aid office, external grants and scholarships, or even community organizations and tech companies, there are multiple avenues to explore.

Keep an eye on eligibility criteria, deadlines, and specific requirements. Remember to have the necessary documentation, such as financial records and letters of recommendation, to support your case. You can use the technology resources available to aid your academic journey by staying proactive and informed.

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