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One of the potential roadblocks on the path to an online degree might be lack of access to a computer. Finding an online school that provides computers can eliminate that challenge.
Some schools provide laptops, while others offer iPads and comparable technologies. These resources may not come free of obligation or responsibility, however.
Make sure to find out what conditions accompany any school-provided device. Depending on your needs and the school's policies, buying your own laptop may actually be more beneficial in the long run, even if it costs more now.
Online schools that provide students a computer
Many colleges and universities offer computers to online learners. Available devices can be limited, so always check with the school to make sure they have what you need. Be sure to read any terms and conditions before enrolling, too.
Below are a few schools that offer computers for online students.
Bethel University provides a laptop to Tennessee state residents enrolled in a program offered by the Graduate School or the College of Adult & Professional Studies. Students can keep the laptop after they complete the first semester of their program.
California State University
California State University - Sacramento's Hornet Laptop Discount Program allows students to reduce or eliminate the cost of a laptop purchased through its bookstore. Individuals must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours to be eligible.
Chatham University offers new Macbook Air computers to incoming first-year students. Along with the device, learners receive word processing, communication, and safety software as well as HelpDesk repair services.
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University's Patriot Scholarship provides tuition, textbooks, and a laptop to members of the Armed Services, their spouses and caregivers, and unmarried dependent children.
Through the David M. Rubenstein Scholar Program at Duke University, first-generation, limited-income recipients can receive a laptop alongside tuition, room and board, and access to funding resources.
Indiana State University
Indiana State University offers laptop lending services, and full-time, incoming freshmen who win the Sycamore Technology Award recieve new laptop computers. Recipients must be Pell Grant eligible for consideration.
Moravian University offers incoming students a MacBook Pro laptop and an iPad. Devices come equipped with word processing software and Apple resources.
Northwest Missouri State University
Northwest Missouri State University issues laptops to full-time, in-person undergraduate students or undecided online-only students. The laptops are loaded with textbook rentals as part of tuition and fees. Learners return their laptops at the end of the academic year if they do not enroll in summer or fall courses.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University rents laptops to students in exchange for a $250 deposit. Individuals must enroll at least part time and will receive a laptop based on first-come, first-served availability.
Seton Hall University
As part of Seton Hall University's Mobile Computing Program, incoming students receive laptops with proprietary software in exchange for a per-semester fee. Laptops undergo regular check-ins and must be returned when the student is no longer enrolled full time.
St. John's University
Through St. John's University's Academic Computing Initiative, undergraduate students pay a laptop usage fee each semester in exchange for a laptop. Students return their laptops upon degree completion or for any term when they are not enrolled.
Strayer University provides new undergraduate enrollees with a Microsoft-compatible laptop. After completing three quarters of coursework, students get to keep the device.
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota - Crookston issues laptop computers to full-time, on-campus students. Undecided online students are also eligible. Individuals receive a standard Hewlett-Packard model, which is gifted to them upon graduation provided they submit it for a factory reset.
Valley City State University
Valley City State University provides full-time students with a MacBook Pro or Microsoft Windows laptop as part of its laptop initiative. Fees may apply, but vary by eligibility, degree, and availability.
Wake Forest University
Incoming undergraduate students at Wake Forest University can purchase a laptop at affordable prices through the WakeWare program. The laptops come equipped with extended warranties and protection and receive on-campus support.
Common questions about laptops for online colleges
Do online schools provide computers?
Some online schools provide computers for students, although conditions usually apply. Not all online schools offer laptops.
How do I get a free laptop for school?
Getting a free laptop for school involves enrolling in a school that has a laptop program and then meeting any eligibility requirements that program. Eligibility may be limited by income level or academic achievement.
Can you use a tablet for online school?
You can use a tablet for some online programs, but it may not have all of the software you need. Always check with a school's IT department to ensure that you have the tools you need to complete your assignments before enrolling.
This article was reviewed by Lonnie Woods III.
Lonnie Woods III is a student affairs administrator, professor, and professional development practitioner whose research examines the career competencies of college students studying arts-related majors. Woods holds a BS in fine art photography from Towson University and an MA in higher education and student affairs from New York University. He has 10-plus years of experience working in higher education, with professional experience at Pratt Institute, New York University, The George Washington University, and Columbia University.
Lonnie Woods III is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network.