Nowadays more people than ever are working from home, and more students are learning online, even if only part-time. If your family is in a situation where you’re fighting over one computer, it’s time to stop the madness! There are numerous ways you can get free laptops, especially if you have a low income.
Many non-profit organizations recognize that providing technology for free or at a low cost to individuals who need them is greatly beneficial to people’s further education and job opportunities. By providing free laptops or free desktop computers, they’re helping people get access to more online resources.
These organizations also often provide free technology education so the recipients can become proficient in using technology.
Get Free Laptops
There are numerous ways to get free laptops…if you qualify. Most organizations that give out free laptops require you to go through an application process that is usually income dependent. Or you might just have to get lucky. Here are seven places to look for free laptops.
1. Computers with Causes
Computers with Causes is an organization that gives out free computers to those in need.
It’s a win-win for businesses and individuals who donate, too, as their donations of computers, tablets, laptops, and other equipment are tax-deductible.
To apply for a free computer, you’ll need to fill out the online form. They state that their main goal is “to provide a refurbished computer gifted by our generous donors toward an educational, future learning program, foster home, or disabled veteran in need.”
Not everyone who asks for a computer will receive one, as they receive thousands of requests each year. Computers with Causes does a strict need assessment and background and reference check to weed out false requests.
It can take weeks for them to get back to you, so you’ll need to be patient. Still, your patience can pay off with a free laptop if you are truly in need. All applications are valid for 30 days, so if you do not hear from them within that time frame, you can apply again.
Computers with Causes is part of the With Causes charitable network. This network has a mission to provide simple and effective assistance with long term effects. They provide music education, assist those with disabilities, repair and gift vehicles, financially assist nonprofits, support homeless families, and help battered women and kids.
2. The On It Foundation
The On It Foundation (ONIT) is another organization that gives out free laptops to those in need. ONIT stands for Opportunities Necessary to Increase Technology.
Their goal is to provide low-income families with students a free refurbished computer and at least 20 hours of computer training with ongoing support and service offerings. To date, they’ve donated over 2000 free computers.
Homes with at least one child receiving free or reduced lunches in a public school will receive a free computer. Free computers are based on availability; if computers are not available, they’ll place your name on a waiting list.
To apply, a parent/guardian for the student must write to The On It Foundation to request a free computer. The letter must include the following information:
- Student name, age, grade, school name, school address, school phone information
- Parent/guardian name, address, phone number
- Signed by the parent/guardian
- Proof from the school on its letterhead that the student qualifies for free or reduced school lunch
Information on where to mail the letter can be found here.
They also have information on their website about providing free or discounted laptops to students in military families as well as to children with disabilities.
3. PCs for People
PCs for People is an organization that refurbishes desktop and laptop computers for distribution to eligible recipients. It’s also a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, and all of their computers come with a 90-day hardware warranty.
To be eligible to receive a free or discounted computer, you’ll need to have an income below the 200% poverty level and/or be currently enrolled in an income-based government assistance program (Head Start, Medicaid/Medical Assistance, free or reduced lunch, etc.).
You don’t need to apply in advance; just bring in your photo ID and an eligibility proof document dated within the last six months. Store locations are in Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. Computers in stores are available with a range in cost of $0 – $150.
You can also purchase computers online and upload proof of eligibility with your order. There’s free shipping, too!
Eligible customers can also receive discounted high-speed internet service through PCs for People.
4. Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse
The mission of Alliance for Technology Refurbishing & Reuse (AFTRR) is to support the non-profit refurbishing and reuse community to provide low-cost or free technology to those in need.
Their website has an interactive map in which you can put in your city, state, or zip code and learn about the nonprofit refurbishers and recyclers in your area. There are over 80 listings across the U.S. and Canada. (I found five in my area!)
These organizations won’t always give free laptops away, but they may have deeply discounted laptops available for purchase.
This organization is sponsored by National Cristina Foundation, a private operating foundation working to advance digital inclusion by building awareness about the value of technology reuse.
5. Online College or University
Are you planning to further your education? There are many online colleges and universities that offer free laptops and other devices to their students.
Note that the cost of these devices is usually covered by your student fees, so it’s not really free. But if you were planning to attend an online college or university anyway, it’s a nice bonus.
Also, note that some programs require you to return the device once you graduate or are no longer enrolled.
Here are some online universities that offer free laptops to their students:
- Chatham University
- Dakota State University
- Full Sail University
- Independence University
- Northwest Missouri State University
- Seton Hill University
- St. John’s University
- University of Minnesota Crookston
- Wentworth Institute of Technology
Freecycle is a grassroots and nonprofit movement of people who give and receive stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. The goal is to keep stuff out of landfills and build community.
You’ll need to find a group near you to join, then you can either just cross your fingers and wait for someone to offer up a free laptop, or you can simply ask for one if you’re so bold.
Craigslist is a well-known marketplace for selling items, but did you know that people give away items on Craigslist, too? There’s a “free” section available on every Craigslist site. (Look under the “For Sale” section.)
I’m used to seeing large furniture, carpet remnants, and the like in the free section, but on a whim, I typed in “laptop” and actually found someone giving away a free laptop in my region! I also searched for “computer” and found several listings for free computer monitors and speakers.
Now, there’s a chance that any free laptops you pick up through Craigslist may need some work or replacement parts, but if you’re tech-savvy or have a buddy who knows computers you may be able to nab a great deal.
8. Earn Free Gift Cards
This method takes some work on your end, but you can earn free gift cards by performing various activities online. Then redeem those gift cards for the free laptop of your choosing!
You’ll want to read the full post for more information, but here’s a preview of the activities you can do:
- Shop and Earn with Swagbucks
- Search and Explore with Microsoft Rewards
- Read Emails and Complete Offers with InboxDollars
- Scan Your Grocery Receipts
- and more!
It’s not always possible to get a laptop completely free, but
Get Discounted Laptops
If you don’t qualify for the above programs or can’t seem to find someone near you who wants to give a free laptop away, don’t fret! There are lots of ways to get discounted laptops…at a deep discount, too!
EveryoneOn has a mission to create social and economic opportunities by connecting low-income families to affordable internet service and computers.
They partner with a network of 650+ organizations to serve under-resourced people across the country. They’ve connected more than 784,000 people to date!
Use their offer locator tool to find out about opportunities near you. You just need to enter your zip code and answer a few questions about your household. They’ll show you internet offers and device offers available to you in your area.
10. Notebooks for Students
Notebooks for Students is a nonprofit organization that offers student discount laptops to students attending primary, high school, college, homeschool, and online.
Besides providing affordable, dependable, and powerful laptops, they also work to decrease costs by offering free service shipping and a free 4-year warranty. Their goal is to simply break even after each school year; they do not generate profit at the student’s expense.
There is no income requirement; computers purchased must just be used by students. Faculty and staff may also purchase laptops for themselves.
11. World Computer Exchange
World Computer Exchange (WCE) accepts donations of computers and technology items and then sells them at a low price to organizations in developing countries.
If your organization is in a developing country, just fill out the online form to request your computers. You’ll need to share your plan for using the computers as well as your overall budget.
They request a non-refundable down payment as well as covering shipping costs, in addition to the cost of the computers. They try to ship large quantities to reduce overall shipping costs. You may be able to partner with another organization to meet the quota.
12. Jump On It! Program
Remember The On It Foundation mentioned above? If you don’t qualify for a free laptop from them, you may be able to get one from the Jump On It! Program.
This is a guaranteed computer layaway program that is affordable for all. High-quality Microsoft Refurbished computers start at $99, and you can start a layaway plan with as little as $15 per week.
To purchase low-cost computers, you must meet certain low-income criteria and/or receive Medicaid, SSI, TANF, GA-U, DSHS support, or free/reduced school lunch. There are additional discounts for non-profit or government entities, military, senior citizens, and college students.
Laptops, desktops, and notebooks are covered by a 30-day warranty.
13. Connect All
Connect All has a mission to provide affordable technology for all.
You’ll need to register to purchase online. Note that only nonprofit organizations and people who meet certain low-income criteria are eligible to purchase. Once you register, your account will need to be verified for you to purchase.
Their computers come with Microsoft Windows and Office preinstalled and are also covered by a 1-year warranty.
I found refurbished laptops starting as low as $289, and you can also purchase desktop computers, peripherals, tablets, and more at deep discounts.
14. Internet Essentials from Comcast
If you live in an area serviced by Comcast Internet, you may qualify for the Internet Essentials from Comcast program. This provides low-cost internet service to those who qualify. You’ll pay just $9.95/month + tax for download speeds up to 25 Mbps.
To be eligible for the program, you’ll need to qualify for programs like the National School Lunch Program, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others. You’ll also need to not have had Comcast Internet in the last 90 days.
Once your application is approved, you can also purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price. Place your order online or via phone. Actual computers are refurbished and manufacturers will vary, but they’ll all be ready to use when they show up at your doorstep.
15. Local Computer Shops
Chances are there’s a local computer shop or two in your area that accepts donations or sales of computers, then refurbishes and resells them at a discount.
The easiest way to find these shops is by searching for something like “buy recycled computers near me”. When I did this, I found several stores that offer refurbished computers, including Best Buy, Chipheads, Device Pitstop, Micro Center, Strike Twice Computers, and Tech Discounts.
You may be able to order online from these stores, but there’s definitely something to be said for being able to browse the selection in-person and talk to the experts who will help you find exactly what you need.
As technology continues to transform our society, it’s important to keep up with the times and stay connected online. But you don’t have to bust your budget to do so as there are plenty of ways to get free laptops or get discounted laptops. Check out one or more of these organizations and/or retailers who will help you get up and running in no time.
What are some ways you know of to get free laptops? Have you tried any of these methods? Please comment below to share your experience!