As you conduct your search for a degree program that meets your needs, you may come across some online colleges that offer laptops, tablets, or other devices to their students for free. This perk can considerably reduce your technology costs over the course of your college career. In fact, Digital Trends reports that the average laptop costs about $600, while a tablet will run anywhere from $200 to more than $600. Consider looking for online colleges that provide laptops or tablets, as they can help you reduce the overall costs of earning your degree.
Technology Requirements for Online Colleges
Regardless of whether you’re studying on-campus or online, you’ll need to have access to a desktop or laptop computer to complete most assignments. Tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices can also be useful when working on assignments and projects.
In addition to the device itself, you’ll also need a strong internet connection with minimum speeds of 25MBps download and 3MBps upload. You should also have a general knowledge of modern technology, including word processors, spreadsheets, email, and search engines.
DIFFERENCES BY MAJOR AND DEGREE
As you search for online colleges that offer laptops, it’s important to consider the different technology requirements that you may encounter depending on the type of program you plan on pursuing. For example, Apple products are favored by students with majors in the digital and visual arts, graphic design, and English. On the other hand, students who major in business, engineering, or computer science typically prefer Windows products. When searching for online colleges that offer free laptops, you should narrow your search to schools that offer the type of device that will meet your needs.
TECHNOLOGICAL SUPPORT FOR ONLINE PROGRAMS
It is common for all schools to offer 24/7 technical support, even if they aren’t an online school that offers laptops. Students have access to dedicated technology professionals who can answer questions and address technology issues. This is an important resource offered by all schools. This assistance allows students to focus on learning instead of having to worry about troubleshooting tech-related issues.
Online Colleges That Offer Free Laptops
The list below includes fully accredited universities and online colleges that offer free laptops or tablets for their students. These institutions are located across the country and offer a range of programs and courses that can be completed entirely online.
Can you Keep Free Laptops After Graduation?
Many online colleges that offer laptops allow you to keep the equipment after you graduate, although some may require you to pay a small fee. Other schools may ask you to return the laptop once you are no longer enrolled. When researching online colleges that supply laptops, you should contact your prospective schools to determine their policies for long-term ownership of provided technology.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TECHNOLOGY
In most cases, you can use your financial aid benefits to cover any school-related expenses, including the purchase of laptops, desktop computers, tablets, and other necessary technology. There are several scholarships that can help you pay for this equipment, including the below examples.
Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation Scholarship
MTS/Coca-Cola Laptop Scholarship
My College Laptop Scholarship
Online Schools Offering Laptops Scholarship Essay Competition
Best Laptops For College Laptop Giveaway
The Chickasaw Nation Laptop Scholarship
How to Choose the Best Laptop for College
You have several options when it comes to selecting technology for your postsecondary studies, including the fact that there are numerous online colleges that offer laptops to students for free or a small fee. When determining which laptop will be best for you, consider how you will use your laptop. Students who will need to code often may prefer a Microsoft model, while those who will primarily use their computer for creative purposes might want a Mac. Talk with students and instructors in your prospective field to find out which laptop best matches your academic interests.
HOW MUCH DOES A TYPICAL LAPTOP COST?
The cost of a laptop will vary based on certain technical specifications, including battery life, display, and memory. The better the performance of a laptop, the higher the cost will be. As a result, it is important to remember what you will be using your computer for and then find one that meets your performance needs as closely as possible. If you do not attend one of the online colleges that offer free laptops, then you can find some affordable and high-quality devices on this list below.
|Laptop Name||Retail Price||Weight||Battery Life||Display|
|Macbook Air||$999||2.96 lbs.||12 hours||13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen|
|Dell XPS 15||$999||4.5 lbs.||Up to 19 hours||15.6-inch Full HD|
|HP Chromebook 13||$519||2.86 lbs.||12 hours||13.3-inch Quad HD|
|HP Spectre x360||$1,199||2.89 lbs.||Up to 16 hours||13.3-inch Full HD|
|Acer Aspire E-15||$579||4.92 lbs.||Up to 8 hours||15.6-inch Full HD|
TABLETS VS. LAPTOPS
All students must choose which type of device will best serve their needs, especially if they attend one of the online colleges that offer free laptops or tablets. To start, we must understand the differences between these two devices.
Laptops have been around for decades as a lightweight, portable version of a desktop computer. Modern laptops are quite power and have high functionality, which is why many people prefer them to desktop computers. Even though laptops are more portable than a desktop computer, they can still be difficult to carry at times.
Tablets are even more portable and easier to transport than laptops, though they sacrifice processing power and certain functionality. They are especially limited in regards to word processing and spreadsheet programs, which are commonly used by college students.
If you simply plan on taking notes in class and looking up information online, then a tablet may be the right choice. However, if you desire any additional functionality from your device, a laptop would probably be better.
HOW TO BUY A GREAT LAPTOP ON A BUDGET
Sometimes it can be difficult to find online schools that offer laptops powerful enough for your needs. As a result, you may find yourself in the market for a computer that you’ll have to purchase yourself. The following methods can help you offset some of the costs of purchasing a computer when you’re on a tight budget.
- Leasing – There are some online colleges that supply laptops through a leasing program. You can pay a small fee to rent a computer each term, and then return it once you complete your program or no longer need it. Some schools also have rent-to-own programs where your rental fees go toward an eventual purchase of the laptop.
- Financing Plans – Another option is to take part in a financing plan. With a payment plan, you can purchase a laptop without having to pay the full price all at once. Instead, you would pay monthly or each academic term, in much the same way you would with a credit card. In some cases, you can even finance a laptop interest free through your school.
- Purchase Second-Hand – There are several online colleges that offer laptops that have been pre-owned. These computers are typically refurbished and come with virtually the same processing capabilities as brand-new models. This can be a great way to reduce the cost of your technology without sacrificing much in terms of performance.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR LAPTOP IN GREAT CONDITION
Even if you enroll at one of the online schools that offer laptops, you’ll still want to take care of your device and make sure it lasts as long as possible. Below you will find some tips for maintaining your laptop or tablet that will help ensure that you get the best return on investment from your device.
- Warranties – Make sure your laptop comes with at least a one-year warranty. If you experience any problems with your device, the warranty will allow you to get it fixed at no extra cost. You can usually purchase an additional warranty if you wish to secure protection for a longer period than the standard warranty term.
- Backups – Periodically backup all your files just in case your laptop crashes. We recommend backing up your data once per week. You should also consider storing your files on the cloud, which can allow you to access your work even if your computer’s hardware fails and you no longer have access to that physical device.
- Virus Scanning – Download anti-virus software from a reputable provider and conduct regular scans of your laptop. You can set up the software to perform these scans regularly, such as once per week or every other day. Anti-virus software is incredibly important for protecting your computer from viruses and malware.
- Regular Cleaning – Dirt and dust can harm your computer over time, which makes it important to regularly clean your device. After turning it off and unplugging it, wipe down your laptop case with a damp towel and use a medical swab to clean between the keys and other nooks and crannies. You should also blow compressed air into the frame of your laptop near its internal fans to remove dust and debris.
- System Updates – Periodically, your computer will notify you that there’s a system update available. Performing a system update will download a more recent version of your computer’s operating system and programs, which can improve your processing speed, fix bugs, and help prevent viruses and other problems.