Pursuing an online degree opens up flexibility and convenience, enabling you to advance your education on your own schedule. But having the right technology is crucial for succeeding in online classes and coursework. That’s why some colleges provide laptops to students at free or reduced costs.
This comprehensive guide explores online schools with laptop programs, the benefits of these offerings, key factors in choosing a laptop, and expert tips to save money. With the right opportunity, you can obtain a high-quality laptop matched to your major and online learning needs.
Why Laptops Are Essential for Online Students
Owning a capable laptop is one of the most important investments you can make as an online student. With a reliable device, you can participate in virtual lectures, complete assignments, and collaborate with peers from anywhere you have Wi-Fi access.
In the 2021-22 academic year, college students spent more money on technology than textbooks, according to the National Association of College Stores. Many learners are unable to purchase laptops at full price in addition to covering tuition and other expenses. This creates a barrier to success in online education.
In response, some accredited colleges and universities now provide laptops to enrolled students for free or at discounted rates. These programs aim to equip learners with vital tools while reducing financial burdens.
Benefits of Laptop Programs Offered by Schools
Getting your laptop through your online college provides numerous advantages:
- Saves money compared to buying at full retail price
- Comes pre-loaded with required software for classes
- Eligibility for tech support from campus IT department
- Access to campus networks, servers, and academic resources
- May qualify for financial aid grants to fully cover costs
- Matches hardware specs to program and coursework demands
By obtaining your device directly through your school, you can gain confidence it has everything you need for academic success.
Top Online Colleges Offering Laptops in 2023
Here are some of the top accredited online schools providing laptops to enrolled undergraduates:
- Dakota State University: Dakota State furnishes incoming, on-campus freshmen with Fujitsu laptops featuring 256GB SSD storage, 14” displays, and 8GB RAM. DSU configures the laptops specifically for each student’s major and courses.
- University of Minnesota Crookston: UMC loans HP ProBook laptops with 14” screens, 8GB RAM, i5 processors, and 256GB SSD storage to students living on campus. The school has run this program since 1993.
- Wake Forest University: Through the WakeWare program, undergraduates can purchase discounted laptops like the Dell XPS 13 for $1149. Financial aid recipients also get a $1500 tech grant.
- Full Sail University: Full Sail provides enrolled students 13-inch MacBook Pros or specialized MSI gaming laptops tailored to each degree program. Some students may qualify for tech grants.
- American National University: American National University ships Dell laptops pre-loaded with course software to all new undergraduate students pursuing online degrees.
Key Factors in Choosing the Right Laptop
With so many options and features to consider, selecting the best laptop for online learning can feel daunting. Focus on these key factors:
- Operating System (OS): Windows and MacOS are the most common. Choose based on personal preference, budget, and software needs.
- Processor (CPU): Newer generation Intel Core i5 or i7 and AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 provide the best performance.
- RAM: Look for at least 16GB to efficiently multitask and run demanding applications.
- Storage: 512GB solid-state drives (SSDs) offer fast, reliable performance for the price.
- Display: aim for Full HD or 4K resolution and 13 to 15 inches for portability.
- Battery Life: Look for at least 10 hours of runtime for full days of use between charges.
- Budget: Expect to invest $900 to $1500 for a laptop that will last through your degree.
Getting the Right Laptop on a Budget
Don’t let money concerns stop you from getting a great laptop. Here are tips to save:
- Explore a manufacturer refurbished or open-box special model to save 20% or more. Units are inspected and function like new.
- Consider a previous generation laptop that will still handle your needs at a lower price point. Focus on specs rather than buying the very latest model.
- Take advantage of student discounts from major brands like Apple, Dell, Lenovo, HP, and more. Always ask about educational pricing.
- Use your Pell Grant refund or other financial aid creatively. Talk to your school about applying excess aid to a new laptop purchase.
- Check for discounts on accessories like cases, adapters, and printers to save on items you’d need anyway.
By researching prices and optimizing financial aid, you can secure a laptop ideal for online classes even on a limited budget.
Key Takeaways on Getting a Laptop for Online College
Succeeding in online classes means having the right technology for the job. A laptop matched to your specific needs helps you work more efficiently, stay organized, and access key learning resources.
Exploring your school’s laptop offerings is wise – financial assistance can save you hundreds of dollars. Evaluate all the specifications carefully and read reviews to ensure your device provides the best value.
With smart planning, you can obtain the essential tools to excel in online college without breaking the bank. A laptop is an investment in your future that pays dividends in convenience, flexibility, and academic achievement.
Q: What are the requirements for participating in an online school with free laptop program?
A: The requirements for participation in an online school with free laptop program can vary. Some programs require students to be in a certain grade level or to have a certain GPA. It is important to read the requirements for participation carefully before you apply for a program.
Q: What type of laptop or tablet is provided by the program?
A: The type of laptop or tablet that is provided by the program will vary. Some programs provide basic laptops, while others provide more powerful laptops or tablets. It is important to choose a laptop or tablet that is appropriate for your needs.
Q: How much does it cost to participate in an online school with free laptop program?
A: The cost of online school with free laptop programs can vary significantly. Some programs are free, while others charge a fee. The fee may be a one-time payment or a monthly subscription. It is important to factor in the cost of the program when you are making your decision.
Q: What are the benefits of participating in an online school with free laptop program?
A: There are a number of benefits to participating in an online school with free laptop program. These programs can help students to save money on the cost of a laptop or tablet, and they can also provide students with access to a high-quality education. Additionally, online school with free laptop programs can help students to stay connected with their classmates and teachers.