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According to Digital Trends, the average laptop costs roughly $600 when new, but many popular laptop and desktop models cost at least twice that much. Many of today's colleges and universities recognize the financial burden students face when buying computers for coursework. As a result, the number of online colleges that provide laptops to students has increased in recent years. Some schools incorporate the cost of a laptop or tablet into their online tuition rates, allowing students to keep their issued device after graduation. Others lease laptops and tablets out to students and require them to return the device if/when they graduate or leave school.

Online Colleges that Offer Free Laptops or iPads:

  • Amridge University
  • Bethel University
  • Chatham University
  • CollegeAmerica
  • Colorado Technical University
  • Coppin State University
  • Full Sail University
  • Independence University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana State University
  • Maryville University
  • Northwest Missouri State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Princeton University
  • Rochester College
  • Saint Leo University
  • Seton Hill University
  • St. John's University
  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • Stevens-Henager College
  • University of Minnesota Crookston
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • Valley City State University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology

Below, you can find our alphabetical list of the best accredited online colleges that offer free laptops and/or tablets to students. To learn more about online college free laptop and tablet offers, please visit the links found in each box.

College Laptops and Tablets: Frequently Asked Questions

What Colleges Provide Laptops?

We feature 25 schools that provide laptops or iPads to their students. This includes Bethel University, Chatham University, and Full Sail University. Read more here.

Can I Use My Financial Aid to Buy a Laptop?

Yes. Any money that's left over after paying for tuition can be used as the student sees fit, including purchasing a laptop. However, it's recommended that students use this left-over money to pay for room and board, food, and other essential needs.

What is The Best Tablet For Online Classes?

The best tablet will be different for every student. Each tablet has their strengths and weaknesses. When making this decision, it's helpful to figure out which features you desire most.

How Do I Get a Free Laptop For College?

Students must attend one of the universities that offer a free laptop or tablet to new learners. Read more here.

What is The Best Laptop For College?

The best laptop will be different for every student. Each laptop has its strengths and weaknesses. When making this decision, it's helpful to figure out which features you desire most. Read more here.

Online Colleges that Offer Laptops and iPads

If receiving a laptop is an important criterion for your choice in school, then our list of online colleges that offer laptops to their students will help in your decision-making. Below, you will find the information you need to compare different computer options as well as direct links to the program details.

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Amridge University

The Amridge University Laptop Program allows every student to purchase a laptop computer at a discounted rate. During the 2018-19 year, each student paid a flat fee of $375 per device. Though the university does not service the laptops directly, a three-year extended warranty covers all parts and services. Amridge University students may choose from multiple models: for example, the 2018-2019 lineup included Lenovo, HP, and Microsoft laptops.

All devices are preloaded with software, including the Canvas learning management system and Microsoft Office 365. Students who pay for their laptop using financial aid must enroll full time. The university ships all laptops to the student's home address prior to the start of the academic year.

Bethel University

Bethel issues Chromebooks to incoming freshmen prior to their first day of class. Each laptop comes preloaded with antivirus software and the Google Chrome operating system, which stores all documents and applications in a cloud-based platform for easy retrieval. Each student receives their Chromebook in the mail or at their new student orientation.

Those who do not claim their Chromebook during their first semester will be ineligible to do so later. Because Bethel technically owns the laptops, students may not share movies, music, or games through the campus network. Bethel recommends each student insure their device for no less than $600 to protect against repairs, replacements, and theft.

Chatham University

As part of Chatham's MacBook laptop program, all new freshman receive a MacBook Air during their first-year orientation. All online courses at Chatham incorporate the laptop into the curriculum, and students can access the university's network at WiFi hotspots located across campus. In addition, freshman receive a complimentary carrying case and four years of warranty coverage, damage protection, and theft protection.

Technology fees cover the costs of the laptop and on-campus IT services while students are still enrolled. Chatham transfers ownership of the laptop to each successful graduate. Graduate students at Chatham do not receive laptops, but the university offers financial aid options for purchasing and maintaining a device if needed for graduate-level coursework.


CollegeAmerica provides new laptops to all incoming freshman. Students may use their device for their coursework and keep it after graduation. Each laptop is preloaded with software for students to use in their courses. In addition to providing complimentary laptops, CollegeAmerica helps students save by loaning textbooks and course materials rather than forcing students to purchase them outright. Those seeking healthcare-related degrees also receive free scrubs, stethoscopes, and other lap supplies at no extra cost; they also receive free one-on-one tutoring. The CollegeAmerica laptop program is not open to graduate students.

Colorado Technical University

The CTU Patriot Scholarship caters to all current or incoming students with life-altering injuries that were received while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Additional requirements include a high school diploma or equivalency, an honorable service discharge, and a service-disconnected disability with a disability rating of at least 30% that included medical treatment.

Military spouses, dependents, and non-medical attendants may also apply. In addition to a cash award, scholarship winners receive a new laptop along with hard-copy or digital textbooks. Fifty students receive the scholarship each year.

Coppin State University

Launched in 2001, the Student Laptop Initiative at Coppin State enables any current undergraduate to lease a laptop computer during the semester (fees vary by available model and may change annually). After four consecutive semesters, students may purchase the device by paying a charge. Coppin State offers grants for students who cannot afford to lease the laptop for four semesters, and loaner computers are available in the event of a malfunction. Any student with a valid ID can rent a loaner at no extra charge.

Full Sail University

As part of Full Sail University's Project Launchbox Initiative, most incoming freshman may purchase a current-generation MacBook Pro laptop at an institutional discount. Those pursuing degrees in game development, software development, or simulation and visualization receive a Hewlett-Packard laptop instead.

Additionally, students qualify for supplemental hardware and software components based on their major field. For example, laptops for sports management majors are equipped with a microphone and audio mixer for producing sports media and journalism, while music production majors receive a computer with Pro Tools, Logic, and other mixing software. Full Sail offers a merit-based scholarship that covers laptop costs. Students can keep the laptop after graduation if they choose.

Independence University

UI offers a comprehensive laptop and tablet program for undergraduate students. Students receive a tablet during their first four-week course module. When they begin core coursework for their degree (typically during the fourth course module), the university provides a laptop as well. Both devices are equipped with software compatible with the school's online courses. Students may keep both the tablet and laptop after graduating from IU. Those who leave school prior to graduation must return their devices.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Since 2010, IIT has provided iPad tablets to all first-year, incoming freshmen as part of the IIT Mobile Computing Initiative. Each device is compatible with e-books, Blackboard, and iTunes University software. Other built-in features include a university app with news, events, and course listings as well as an emergency alert function that connects students with campus police and medical services.

The university also hosts on-campus iPad workshops where students and faculty members can learn how to use the device and integrate it into coursework. Also available for students is an iPad lab where they can take a tablet out on loan in case their own needs repairs.

Indiana State University

ISU's Sycamore Technology Award covers the cost of a new laptop chosen by the university and is open to incoming students also eligible to receive need-based Pell Grants. Most recently, the school distributed the HP ProBook 640 to award recipients. In- and out-of-state students may apply, but solely online, international, and returning students do not qualify. Recipients may keep their laptop as long as they attend the university for at least two consecutive semesters. Those who leave before the end of the second semester must return their laptop either in person or via mail.

Maryville University

Maryville's Digital World Program awards a new iPad tablet to each traditional, full-time undergraduate at no extra charge. The cost of the iPad is not built into tuition rates, and students can keep the device if they graduate from Maryville. The devices come preloaded with software and apps that allow students to load e-books, notes, and other course materials. Each student must bring their iPad to class every day, as most faculty members incorporate tablet learning into their courses. According to a Maryville faculty survey, students use the iPad primarily for group projects and course presentations.

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest offers a laptop computer to all incoming undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of enrollment status or whether they take courses online or on campus. Northwest owns the devices and leases them to students on a temporary basis. All students pick up their laptop at the Northwest Technology Service Center and may return their computer in person or through the mail.

The school does not provide laptop insurance beyond the device's standard manufacturing warranty, and it encourages students to purchase insurance to protect against damages and theft. Students should also back up their files on a weekly basis in case of software or hardware failures.

Ohio State University

OSU offers technology kits to incoming freshmen and transfer students as well as returning students enrolled at the university. Each kit includes a 10.5" iPad, protective case, smart keyboard, Apple Pencil, and a one-year warranty. The warranty only covers the tablet, and there is a damage replacement fee. All students attending courses at OSU campuses receive the technology kit either at orientation or through the mail, depending on which campus they attend. Those who wish to opt out of the program may receive a financial credit for the device depending on when they return the iPad.

Princeton University

Princeton provides laptops to students at a discounted rate as part of the school's Student Computer Initiative (SCI). Students can pick up their device from the on-campus SCI store at any point during the academic year. Princeton offers a rotating selection of laptops for students. For example, during the 2018-2019 year, available models included the MacBook Air 13", MacBook Pro 13", MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display, Dell XPS 13, and Dell Latitude 3490.

Prices and specifications vary by model, and rates generally change each year. Upgrades, accessories, and changes to SCI laptops are not allowed. Each SCI laptop comes preconfigured with software programs and includes three years of warranty coverage. Students must return the laptop when they graduate or leave school.

Rochester College

Rochester provides free laptops to incoming freshmen who enroll full time and who possess fewer than 30 institutional or transfer credits. Students may use the laptop for coursework and keep it after graduation per their contract agreement with the college. However, the school places a laptop hold on students who have not completed at least six consecutive fall and spring semesters.

Those who leave Rochester before reaching this benchmark or downgrade to part-time enrollment must pay for the laptop in full. Additionally, students with laptop holds who request transcripts must pay for the laptop in full before they may receive their transcripts.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo offers a laptop rental program for traditional full- or part-time students earning an undergraduate degree. Students pay a deposit fee for computers that come preloaded with Microsoft Office 365 and other software programs in order to meet the university's technology compliance standards. Laptop rentals are available on a first-come basis, but Saint Leo students can also borrow laptops from the university's library, provided the device does not leave the building.

Seton Hill University

Since 2010, Seton Hill has provided laptops and tablets to students as part of the Mobile Learning at The Hill program. All traditional, full-time undergraduate students, as well as those earning a master's with a physician assistant focus, receive both a 13" MacBook Air and the current generation iPad. Master's in art therapy students receive the MacBook only, while master's in orthodontics or master's in marriage and family therapy students receive the iPad only.

Seton Hill replaces all devices after students have attended school for two consecutive years, and graduates may keep the replacement device after leaving school. Seton Hill also offers on-campus tech support where students can pick up loaner devices if their laptop or tablet needs repairs.

St. John's University

St. John's offers different laptops to students based on their field of study. Those earning degrees in mass communications, fine arts, or liberal arts are advised to select the Apple MacBook Pro, which carries a usage fee of $190 per semester. Students earning degrees in business are advised to choose a Windows Lenovo ThinkPad laptop with a usage fee of $115 per semester or a Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 2-in-1 laptop and tablet that costs $145 per semester. Costs and devices may vary year to year.

All issued laptops qualify for four years of warranty coverage including accidental damage protection. Students who graduate or leave the school for other reasons must return the laptops to one of the university's on-campus IT support centers. Those who keep their laptop must pay a flat charge of $800.

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Students enrolled in online graduate programs at Saint Mary's qualify for a free iPad when they begin their coursework. The cost of the iPad is built into tuition rates, and each tablet comes preloaded with helpful software programs such as VoiceThread for file and media sharing, FaceTime and Skype for live video chatting, and Dilgo for note taking. Students earning degrees in project management, human resources, and organizational leadership can complete all of their coursework using their iPad, while those in other programs can use the iPad for the bulk of their studies.

Stevens-Henager College

Stevens-Henager offers free laptop computers for college students as part of its no-fee package for incoming undergraduates. Students may keep the laptops if/when they graduate from the university. Additionally, Stevens-Henager allows students to lease textbooks and other course materials, which can significantly drive down their overall college costs. Other complementary services include one-on-one tutoring as well as scrubs and lab supplies for those in healthcare-related programs. Graduate-level students do not qualify for the free laptop offer.

University of Minnesota Crookston

UMC has provided students with laptop computers since 1993, making it one of the first institutions to do so. This offer extends to all full-time students attending the university. Students must pay two technology fees -- one per semester during their first academic year. This fee covers the laptop cost along with on-campus tech support and services. Those who successfully graduate from UMC may keep their laptop. The school refreshes the inventory every two years to ensure high-quality laptops are issued. The current model is the HP EliteBook 1040 G3 Notebook PC.

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

UNCP provides laptops to high-achieving students as part of the school's Honors Scholar Laptop Initiative. New and returning honors students may apply for devices on an annual basis, and the program contract requires students to return all laptops and associated hardware to the university at the end of each academic year.

UNCP retains ownership of the laptop after a recipient graduates or withdraws from courses, and students are responsible for costs associated with laptop damages or theft. The university issues laptops on a first-come basis, which may limit availability, so students should submit their annual applications as soon as possible. Laptop rentals for summer sessions require a separate contract.

Valley City State University

VCSU issues laptops to full- and part-time students as part of the school's laptop initiative. Online and traditional undergraduate and graduate students may apply. Full-time students can choose between a 13" MacBook Air or a 14" HP EliteBook 840 G4, while part-time students may select one of these laptops or a previously issued model, such as the 13.3" MacBook Pro or 12.5" Lenovo ThinkPad Twist.

VCSU recommends the MacBook option for students in art, education, and music programs; it recommends the HP device for business, STEM, and social science majors. The cost of the laptop is built into each student's tuition rates, and all students must pay a damage deductible along with a fee if they lose the device. Graduates can purchase their laptop after leaving school.

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest requires all students to own a laptop that meets minimum requirements for the school's academic software programs. To help undergraduate and graduate students reduce associated costs, the university launched the WakeWare program, which allows students to purchase an Apple or Dell laptop at an institutional discount and includes extended insurance and warranty coverage for liquid damage, theft, and other incidentals.

Wake Forest also provides the Technology Grant to students who receive scholarship aid; this grant covers the costs of the laptop and insurance along with local taxes. Incoming Wake Forest students can have the laptop shipped to their home address or pick up the device when they arrive on campus.

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth offers a new laptop computer to every student enrolled full time. Laptop models vary by the student's academic major, as certain programs offer multiple model and specification options. If options are available, students must complete and submit a laptop survey form prior to their next fall enrollment. Otherwise, they incur a laptop change fee.

The cost of the laptop is built into the student's tuition rates, and no additional charges apply unless the laptop is damaged, lost, or stolen. The school transfers ownership of the laptop to students after graduation, but some software programs must be uninstalled due to certain licensing agreements.

Other Financial Aid Options

In addition to attending online colleges with free laptops, students can save money on computing devices and college expenses in other ways, such as securing financial aid, attending an inexpensive or tuition-free school, and weighing costs as part of the college planning process. Visit the following guides to learn more.

Financial Aid Options

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of financial aid options for undergraduate and graduate students. These include federal and private student loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. The guide also discusses how to complete and submit the FAFSA.

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Every student has different needs and preferences when it comes to selecting a laptop. Our guide to the best laptop computers includes the top devices for note taking, portability, media sharing, and value. Visit this link to view our top-25 ranking.

Cheapest Online Colleges

Most college tuition prices represent a significant financial investment for incoming students, but some institutions are considerably more affordable than others. Visit this page to learn about low-cost schools with top-rated online programs and resources for distance learners.

Tuition-Free Colleges

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College Planning Resources

Preparing for college requires extensive research and planning from prospective students. This collection of resources covers applying and transferring to postsecondary schools, securing financial aid, and taking standardized exams required for admission.