If you’re going to be taking classes, you’re going to need a computer, right? Especially for online students (who may or may not have access to computer labs that almost all brick and mortar schools offer), their computer is the key to their studies. There are now many online colleges that offer free laptops (or at least discounted laptops), something that offers students a chance to infuse a bit of technology into their studies at an educational discount.
Many of these programs are really just student discount programs that offer discounts on a few select laptops (most offer a small range of laptops to fit a variety of budgets, but most of them do offer the big name brands like Apple, HP, and Dell). Most of these programs also offer discounts on commonly used software such as Microsoft Office.
However, some schools have taken this a step further and are offering “free” laptops (and some are offering iPads) for students enrolled in their programs. Since nothing in life is really ever free, know that your ‘free’ laptop is probably paid for via a technology fee or is otherwise included in your tuition dollars, so don’t select a program simply because they’re offering you a laptop as part of your tuition. Many of these programs also have fairly stringent limits on who can get a free laptop, so make sure to double check with each school to ensure that you would be eligible based on their criteria.
Don’t forget that many laptop makers offer their own discounts to students and teachers. Companies like Apple offer education discounts to those with a .edu email address, for example. So fear not if your school doesn’t offer a laptop with your tuition or a discount – being a student often will earn you a discount at many places anyway!
So what online schools are offering devices to their students, and who is eligible? We’ve compiled a quick list below of some of the schools that either include devices in their tuition, or offer great discounts for their students.
Full Sail University students must have a computer for their studies – which they’ll get from the school. The school charges a computer fee (which varies by type of computer and what program you’re enrolled in), which includes the computer and a necessary suite of software that they call “Project Launch Box”. Purportedly, the cost of the computer and software is at a steep discount from market pricing.
Bethel University in Tennessee offers iPads to all of its full time, online students. They load them up with “the most relevant applications to your business life”. When you graduate, you get to keep the iPad. The school doesn’t overtly publicize their tuition costs, so its not clear whether there is a ‘technology fee’ that covers the cost of the iPad or whether it is part of the tuition.
Stevens-Henager College offers students a laptop when they enroll in the online hybrid course programs (Master’s Degrees not included). For the duration of your studies, the laptop belongs to the college, and you must return it if you drop out. However, when you graduate, you can keep the laptop as a ‘gift’ from the school.
All full time undergraduates taking classes through LIU’s CW Post Campus – who offer a variety of online courses – get an iPad mini to help keep them tech savvy and relevant in today’s connected world. Students do have to pay a technology fee to get the iPad, and you must be enrolled full time. Part time students and graduate students are also eligible to buy the iPad at a reduced rate of $250 if they meet the school’s qualifications.
The University of Phoenix offers discounts to its students on a variety of technology options (including computers and software) from companies such as Apple, Dell, HP, Adobe, AT&T, Microsoft, and Staples. It is unclear exactly how discounted the products are, since you can only see the pricing if you are an enrolled student.
CollegeAmerica offers laptops to all of their students as a part of their tuition. For the duration of your studies, the laptop belongs to the college, but after you graduate, you can keep the laptop. If you drop out of school prior to graduating, you must return the laptop to the school. Additionally, laptops are not given to students who are enrolled in Master’s programs. The school does not openly publicize their tuition and fees, so it is unclear if you pay for the laptop via a technology fee or if it is rolled into the tuition cost.
St. John’s University offers a choice of four laptops to all full-time, incoming freshmen. The price is included in the tuition and fees unless you choose an Apple Mac Book Pro, at which point you pay a surcharge. The school owns the laptop for the duration of your studies, and then you own it upon graduation. It isn’t clear whether fully online students are eligible for the laptop program, but St. John’s does offer a number of online programs.
Similar to St. John’s, Northwest Missouri State University offers laptops to all of its full-time, incoming freshmen. While the school doesn’t explicitly say whether or not students who are completing their studies all online are eligible, they do offer many online programs that offer you full time status.
Liberty University Online offers all students, faculty, staff, and alumni a marketplace where they can buy new computers and software at ‘deep educational discounts’. The exact nature of the discounts is unclear, as you must be enrolled and have a university login to get the most up to date pricing.