In today’s highly technological society, online education is becoming the norm for an array of students around the world. In line with the ever-advancing technology, nearly all students must have some type of computer to complete coursework. With all the rest of expenses related to higher education, buying a personal computer can be very pricy. Many students seeking to enroll in an online program wonder, are there any online colleges that offer a free laptop with tuition?
Importance of Computers
Majority of all careers involve working on computers in some way, so it is essential that college students learn basic to advanced computer skills to prepare them for success in both academics and in future positions. Additionally, the use of computers has completely changed higher education. Online colleges present all course materials through the Internet, including syllabi, presentations, resources, and even textbooks in eBook forms. A computer is essential to attend an online course, and a laptop is convenient because students can take it with them for use anywhere with an Internet connection.
Online Schools that Offer Free Laptops
There are numerous online institutions that offer free laptops or related devices to students. Stevens-Henager College is a four-year institution based out of Ogden-Haven, Utah and it was founded in 1891. It is a nonprofit institution that is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. It offers online programs in healthcare, business, information technology, and graphic arts. Students receive a laptop upon enrollment. Bethel University is a four-year Christian university based out of McKenzie, Tennessee. It was established in 1842 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers online programs in organizational leadership, management, and business administration. Students receive a free iPad to use as part of the technology initiative started by the university.
Founded in 1978, Independence University is a nonprofit, ACCSC-accredited online school with free laptop coverage from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education. According to Niche, IU offers America’s 98th best student life right on the internet. Independence splits into four colleges to award 18 online degrees in accelerated, four-week modules. Available degrees include the Medical Assisting AOS, Graphic Arts BS, Web Development BS, Business Administration BS, and Nursing Education MS. Incoming students in these employment-focused programs get shipped a no-cost laptop during their first term. Laptops are preloaded with software to access the IU Portal and download free electronic textbooks.
Owned by Career Education Corp., Colorado Technical University is a for-profit, HLC-accredited online school with free laptop opportunities since 2008 specifically for military families. The U.S. News & World Report ranked CTU 85th for veteran-friendly bachelor’s programs online. Each 11-week term, Colorado Tech students use the FastTrack to finish 32 online degrees in 30 percent less time. Available degrees include the Management AS, Digital Marketing BSBA, Data Science BSCS, Criminal Justice BS, and Psychology BS. In any online program, students can receive the CTU Patriot Scholarship for full-tuition coverage and a free laptop. Active-duty and veteran service members of the six U.S. Armed Forces branches qualify. Spouses and unmarried dependents of military heroes can apply too.
Endowed for $17.7 million, the University of Minnesota-Crookston is a public, HLC-accredited online school with free laptop gifts to 2,810 tech-savvy undergrads from day one. Money magazine named UM-Crookston the 271st best value nationally with $20,470 average student debt. At a 16:1 student-faculty ratio, Crookston’s four departments confer 16 fully online degrees on Moodle for an 87 percent job placement rate. Available degrees include the Quality Management BMM, Agricultural Business BS, English BS, Information Technology BS, Finance BS, and Applied Health BS. As of 2020, the UMC Advantage Program is providing free, 14-inch HP Elitebook laptops to incoming Eagles. Crookston also prices in-state and out-of-state tuition the same to pay only $451 per credit anywhere.
Crowned an Apple Distinguished School in 2019, Seton Hill University is a Catholic, MSCHE-accredited nonprofit that offers free laptops for its nearly 1,700 full-time students. With a net price of $21,066, Washington Monthly ranked SHU the 511st best master’s institution. On Canvas, online students can start 22 programs at the “College of Distinction” six times annually for high 98 percent career placement success. Available degrees include the Behavioral Health B.A., Entrepreneurial Studies B.S., Accounting B.S., Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A., and Project Management M.S. The Mobile Learning @ the Hill Program gives SHU Griffins a free MacBook Air laptop with AppleCare coverage for repairs. Online 24/7 access to the Solution Center makes eight-week digital courses easier.
Granted the 2008 Missouri Quality Award, Northwest Missouri State University is a public, HLC-accredited college that’s endowed for $27.26 million and giving 7,104 Bearcats free laptops. The U.S. News & World Report deemed NMSU the 78th best Midwest school for social mobility with 73 percent retention. Each seven-week module, the “Military Friendly” school’s students use Canvas and Zoom to access 21 online programs taught by tenured faculty. Available degrees include the Business Technology B.S., RN to B.S.N., Data Analytics M.B.A., Reading Education M.S.Ed., Geographic Information Science M.S., and Recreation M.S. The Office of Admissions loans out fully loaded HP Probook laptops to students taking 12+ credits full-time. Digital textbooks, Microsoft Office, and 24/7 tech support save students $7,200 in total.
Named a 2011 USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award winner, Full Sail University is a for-profit, ACCSC-accredited online school with free laptop packages for over 20,000 pupils. On Niche, Full Sail boasts America’s 73rd best student life and 282nd most diverse students with average financial aid of $8,633. Eight academic divisions confer 33 online degrees with a fast-paced, 12- to 29-month timeline following the Florida Commission for Independent Education’s standards. Available degrees include the Entertainment Business BS, Creative Writing MFA, Audio Production BS, Mobile Gaming MS, Sportscasting BS, and Cinematography BS. The Project LaunchBox Initiative rewards new Full Sail students with an Apple MacBook Pro or HP laptop and Adobe Creative Cloud software.
Designated an NSA Center of Academic Excellence, Dakota State University is a public, HLC-accredited online school with free laptop services since 2004 to help 3,037 Trojans. Military Times ranked DSU the 32nd best online college for veterans with a strong 99 percent job placement rate. Four DSU colleges charge $351 to $465 per credit on Desire2Learn for 41 online programs with less selective admissions. Available degrees include the Cyber Operations BS, Elementary Education BSE, Software Development AS, Supply Chain Management MBA, and Information Systems PhD. The Wireless Mobile Computing Initiative (WMCI) presents free, up-to-date Fujitsu T Series laptops to all full-time freshmen. Transfers and continuing students can opt into the free laptop rental program too.
Affiliated with the Churches of Christ since 1959, Rochester University was Michigan’s first nonprofit, HLC-accredited online school with free laptop offers for its over 1,100 Warriors. The U.S. News & World Report applauded Rochester for the 53rd best social mobility regionally and 100 percent admissions. For $458 per credit, the Accelerated Learning Program lets undergrads with minimum 2.25 GPAs finish seven degrees online. Available degrees include the Early Childhood Studies BS, Christian Ministry BS, Mass Communication BS, Strategic Leadership BS, and Psychology BS. Since August 2008, Rochester has given free MacBook Pro laptops to incoming students with 29 or fewer credits. Full-time online learners who apply by May 31st or November 30th don’t pay a dime for the laptop to log into Moodle.
College Scholarships for Free Laptops Online
Many more colleges, including St. John’s University, Indiana State University, Southern Nazarene University, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and Strayer University, offer free laptops. Students attending online schools without laptop initiatives aren’t out of luck though. College scholarships can relieve technology costs and supply a brand-new computer. For instance, the Dell Scholars Program selects 500 low-income recipients with collegiate GPAs above 2.4 for a $20,000 cash prize plus Dell laptop computer each March. Sponsored by Ford, the Salute to Education Scholarship awards $1,000 and a free laptop to Miami-Dade or Broward County residents with at least 3.0 GPAs. With Coca-Cola, the Metropolitan Transit System runs the High School Laptop Scholarship Contest until April 10th for San Diego County residents who submit 750-word essays.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) has the HP Scholars Program worth $12,000 and a free laptop for minority undergrads who select computer science and related engineering majors. At the University of Memphis, the Cecil C. Humphreys Merit Scholarship gives $9,700 and a free laptop computer to National Merit Scholars who enroll full-time in the Helen Hardin Honors College. Until October 31st, the Laptop Under Budget Scholarship Program accepts unique, 800-word essays from U.S. college students who can win free laptops worth up to $800. The QuestBridge Quest for Excellence Award provides $1,000 for College Prep Scholars Program participants in 11th-12th grade to buy laptop computers. Administered by Niche, the Twitch $1,000 Future of Gaming Scholarship helps with laptop purchases for current or incoming college students in game-related majors.
Since 2018, the Cheatham-White Merit Scholarship has covered tuition and laptop costs for University of North Carolina students with a minimum 4.0 GPA and 1280 SAT or 28 ACT score. New Yorkers in the CUNY Macaulay Honors College can collect four-year full tuition coverage and a free laptop with the Tuition Merit Scholarship to graduate debt-free. University of Illinois-Springfield students with 3.0 or better GPAs in 23 qualifying bachelor’s majors can claim up to $12,000 and free laptop computers from the Capital Scholars Honors Program. Step Up for Students (SUFS) has the Gardiner Scholarship Program to grant free laptops to youth ages 3-22 who have developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and sensory impairments. The Daniels Scholarship Program has a November 15th deadline for Southwest seniors with 3.0 or higher GPAs to get need-based aid and free laptops.
Other Ways to Save Money on Laptop Computers
Struggling to find the right program at an online school with free laptop options? Don’t panic because there are other ways to reduce a college technology budget. First, research your desired college’s laptop rental program. College IT departments often let enrolled students borrow laptops for a small fee each semester. For instance, Rock Valley College invites pupils to the EAGLE Support Office for a valuable $50 laptop rental. Hunter College’s Technology Resource Center lets OneCard holders loan MacBook or Dell laptops from each library. The University of Toledo has a Laptop Checkout Program in Stranahan Hall for 100+ free Dell 7450 Ultrabook laptops. California State University-Fullerton has 30-day laptop rentals available with a TitanCard through the Division of Information Technology. If needed, consider leasing a rent-to-own laptop from a nearby Rent-A-Center location for as little as $20 weekly.
Purchasing used, yet high-quality laptops on websites like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and Best Buy can save hundreds of dollars. Notebooks for Students (NFS) is a California-based nonprofit with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating for selling laptops cheap to college kids in need. The Computer Technology Assistance Corps (CTAC) empowers low-income college students by providing laptops for $100 with 90-day warranty coverage. Certified by Microsoft, the Jump On It! Program refurbishes name-brand laptop computers for disadvantaged students to purchase on a $15 monthly layaway plan. Colleges normally partner with programs like Toshiba Education and Dell University to provide deep laptop discounts. Students from countries outside the U.S. can also utilize the World Computer Exchange for finding affordable laptops.
Conditions of the Free Computer
Many online schools offer laptops or related devices to students when they begin their program and the students get to keep the equipment following graduation. If a student leaves the college, he or she must return the laptop or related tool. Students are also required to maintain the device and perform any updates as needed. If the laptop gets lost or stolen, students are usually responsible for replacing it at a reduced price. Some colleges offer students complimentary leased devices to use during their program. At these institutions, student must return the items after graduation. Some schools allow students to trade in the devices on a yearly basis for updated alternatives.
Reasons Schools Provide a Free Laptop
Many online institutions understand that students need a computer to complete coursework and some schools decide to provide this necessity. Providing a free laptop to students removes a factor that may hinder enrollment in online programs due to added expenses. This way, students do not have to worry about an additional expense to complete their education.
Choosing an online school that offers a free laptop is a wise choice for students looking to reduce the costs of higher education. It is one less expense for the student. However, if a student’s chosen school does not offer a complimentary device, there are often programs available that enable students to rent laptops for reasonable rates.
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