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How to Get a Free Laptop for College

College comes with a lot of expenses, including laptops. The good news is that you may be able to avoid paying for a laptop if you’re going to college. There are laptop scholarships for college students, and some schools even provide students with free laptops. Depending on your financial aid situation, you may also be able to use existing funds to purchase a device. Read on to learn more. 

Also read: How to save money in college

Use grant or scholarship money

If you received grant or scholarship money to attend college, you may be able to purchase a laptop with your funds. Some financial aid packages include a stipend specifically reserved for laptops, books, and other school-related expenses. 

Federal Pell Grants can also be used to purchase laptops (in a roundabout way). These grants are paid directly to your school to cover tuition and fees, but if there’s money left over you may be issued a refund check. This can then be used to purchase educational supplies such as a laptop. 

Just keep in mind that some forms of financial assistance have limitations on how you can spend the money. Check with your financial aid office if you’re unsure about purchasing a laptop with scholarship or grant funds. 

See also: Scholarships for college students

Get a scholarship specifically for a laptop 

You can also apply for scholarships specifically reserved for laptops:

1. Dell Scholars Program

The Dell Scholars Program is designed to support low-income, highly-motivated students pursuing a college degree. 

Perks: Dell Scholars receive a $20,000 scholarship, plus a laptop with a 4-year warranty. 

Deadline: The application deadline is December 10, 2023.

2. Laptops 4 Learning

The Laptops 4 Learning Program provides laptops to low-income students pursuing an online education. 

Perks: Each month, the program awards 25 refurbished laptops to qualified candidates. 

Deadline: The application season is ongoing.

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Attend a college that offers free laptops 

Many colleges support their students through free laptop programs. Some schools allow students to keep their laptop after graduating, while others require students to return their device. 

Be mindful that some colleges offer a “free” laptop bundled into the cost of the cost of tuition. It may be a line item such as “technology fee” listed in your tuition and fees summary. In situations like this, you’re technically still paying for the device. 

Below we’ve listed some of the nation’s top colleges that offer complimentary laptops. Note that eligibility requirements vary. If your school isn’t included here, they may still offer free laptops or tablets. Check with your college to make sure. 

1. Northwest Missouri State University

Tech Perk: All students are offered a laptop they can keep until graduation

Eligibility: All undergraduate and graduate students living on or off campus (regardless of full-time or part-time status) are eligible 

2. University of Minnesota-Crookston

Tech Perk: Every student is provided a laptop

Eligibility: All enrolled students are eligible 

3. Moravian College

Tech Perk: Students receive a MacBook Pro, iPad, and Apple pencil   

Eligibility: Incoming undergraduate students are eligible

4. Valley City State University

Tech Perk: Students receive either a MacBook Pro or a Microsoft Windows laptop

Eligibility: Full-time students receive a free laptop. Part-time students receive discounts

5. Full Sail University 

Tech Perk: Through “Project LaunchBox,” students receive a laptop with software and accessories relevant to their degrees 

Eligibility: The cost of the laptop and software is included in tuition. LaunchBox packages are unique to each degree program 

6. Chatham University

Tech Perk: Students receive a MacBook Air during student orientation

Eligibility: All incoming first-year students are eligible

7. Strayer University

Tech Perk: Students receive a laptop with Microsoft software, which they can keep after completing their first three semesters

Eligibility: Students enrolled in an online bachelor’s degree program are eligible

8. Wake Forest University

Tech Perk: The “WakeWare” Program provides laptops to students at discounted rates. Students receiving any form of institutional financial aid can get the technology grant, making the laptop free

Eligibility: All undergraduate students are eligible for the discount program. All undergraduate students receiving institutional aid can apply for the grant program to receive a free laptop 

9. Bowdoin College

Tech Perk: All students receive a free MacBook Pro, an iPad Mini, and free software relevant to their studies

Eligibility: Every student at the college automatically receives this perk

Not free, but cheaper…

Some colleges sell laptops to students at discounted rates. You may be able to save a considerable amount if you purchase a laptop through your school instead of buying one from a retailer. If you do this, you’ll also have reassurance that the computer is capable of handling your coursework. Just be sure to do comparison shopping to know you’re getting a good deal.  

Additionally, many major retailers offer student discounts for laptops. Apple offers discounts of a flat percentage, and oftentimes, free AirPods to students. If you are a student, you should be able to receive a discount on your laptop as a result of your student status.

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • There are a few private scholarships available for laptops, and many full ride scholarships include a laptop in their package. However, laptop scholarships are altogether less common than scholarships that go towards your tuition
  • Some schools offer free laptops to all of their students; attending one of these institutions is the most common way to get a free laptop for college
  • Certain scholarships allow you to apply their funds towards a laptop; always make sure to check with your awarding agency before using the money for this purpose
Key Takeaways

Next Steps

Next Steps

Free laptops aren’t the only way to save some extra money in college! We’ve got a host of resources available for college students who are on a budget. One great way to save some extra money in college is to find a source of income. That could be from an online job, a tutoring job, or a side hustle. You could even decide to sell some of your clothes to make some extra money. We can also help you save money on housing and find a roommate to reduce costs. Good luck in designing your budget and make sure to check back if you have more questions! Next Steps

Frequently asked questions

Are there any limitations on what I can do with a free laptop I got for college?

Each school and program has its own rules as to how your free laptop can be used. Be sure to check with the program that offers you the laptop to see what it can be used for. 

Sometimes, especially if you have to return the computer eventually, the laptop will come with certain limitations in its operating system. You may be unable to visit certain websites or install external programs. Always be sure to find out the limitations around your laptop before you begin using it for anything that is not directly related to your studies.

What happens if the laptop breaks or is stolen? Will I need to return it or pay for a replacement?

If your program expects you to return your laptop at the end of your education, you may be responsible for paying the costs to replace or repair it. If you are allowed to keep the laptop after college, you will likely not be responsible for a replacement.

That being said, the policies of these programs vary on a case-by-case basis. Especially if you have evidence of theft, such as a police report, there is a better chance that your program will not make you pay the cost of the computer.