Laptops can be expensive, but the good news is that there are several ways to get a laptop for free.
Check out the options to get a free laptop below to see if any of them will work for you.
How to Get a Free Laptop
To get a free laptop, you typically need to be a high school or college student, be in a low tax bracket, or meet other qualifications.
If you are considered low income (definitions differ at each organization) you could get a free laptop.
The companies and/or foundations listed below supply free laptops to families under certain circumstances.
1. The OnIt Foundation
The OnIt Foundation (short for Opportunities Necessary to Increase Technology) is one organization that provides free laptops. To qualify, you must have a child in a K-12 school grade.
You must also have a low enough income that your child qualifies for a free or reduced school lunch at the public school he/she attends. Yes, your child must attend public school to qualify.
All qualifying children must live in the United States – the program is only open in the U.S. at this time.
Application instructions are listed on the foundation’s website.
2. Computers for Kids
Computers for Kids is a non-profit organization that provides free laptops to kids in ID, WA and OR. The computers they use are donated by businesses or individuals, refurbished and given to underprivileged children.
The organization also gives low cost computers to schools and other non-profit organizations.
The goal is to help them build computer labs to make research and education easier for children.
3. Attend an Online Public School
Some public school districts have online options for students who want to attend public school from home.
This education choice can be a good option for families who are considering homeschooling but aren’t confident in their teaching schools.
It can also be a good alternative for students who for other reasons don’t fit well in traditional schools. Online public schools sometimes offer free laptops to students who choose their school.
Check with your local public school district for the online public school option availability.
Note that with both online public schools and online colleges, you are sometimes required to return the computer when you’re finished with your schooling.
The Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse (AFTRR for short) works with local organizations in cities and states. The goal: to provide free computers to those in need.
If you go to their website (the link is above), you’ll find access to a locator map. The map will direct you to organizations in your area that provide free computers to those in need.
Note that some organizations that AFTRR links to may provide discounted computers only.
If you’re looking for more options for getting a free laptop computer, there are people you can ask. I would start with your local department of human services.
They might have information on getting free or discounted computers.
5. Your Local Library
Although you can’t get a free laptop to keep at your home, you can have access to a computer via your library. Most local libraries have several free computers for members to use as they wish.
They generally have free Internet access as well, meaning you can complete a variety of tasks with library computers.
Note that you do have to obtain a membership at most local libraries before they’ll allow you Internet access.
This is mainly for security reasons so they know who is visiting which websites from library computers.
Check out USA.gov to find a library near you.
6. Salvation Army
Salvation Army has been helping the underprivileged since 1852. They serve their local communities in many ways.
They offer help in the form of just about every need you could think of, from homelessness to those struggling to find food.
Some local Salvation Army locations also partner with tech companies to get free computers to those in need.
Availability varies based on the individual Salvation Army location’s connections with the tech world.
Contact your local Salvation Army chapter to find out if they can help you get a free computer. Note that you’ll likely need to have some type of qualifying indicator, such as low income, to get a free laptop here.
7. PCs for People
PCs for People was founded in 1998 and exists to help people with low income get laptop computers.
This one-man operation start-up now boasts nine physical locations and an online presents in all 50 states.
In order to get a free laptop from PCs for People, you’ll need to have documentation that proves that you receive government assistance of some kind.
Or you may qualify if you have an income that is under 200% of the federal poverty level or 60% of the area median income.
Note that you’ll also need some form of official ID to qualify, whether that be a state ID or driver’s license, a passport, a work ID or a college ID.
Interconnection.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides free and discounted computers to underserved communities around the world.
In order to qualify, you need to have an income level that is below 200% of the federal poverty level or below 60% of your median area income level.
You may also qualify if you receive some type of government assistance, such as EBT or medical assistance.
Contact this organization directly to find out if you can get a free laptop or if you can get a discounted laptop.
Freecycle is a site that gives away things for free in your local area. With nearly 11 million members, there’s a chance you’ll be able to find a free laptop here at some point.
Check the site regularly so you don’t miss out on valuable freebies. Also, check Craigslist and sites like it and browse the “free” sections there as well.
The key to finding free laptops on sites like this is to check often. Another idea? Post an “ask” on your local Facebook buy nothing page.
Free Laptops For Those With Disabilities
The organizations mentioned in this section provide free laptops for those with disabilities. Note that there are often criteria that need to be met in order to qualify.
In addition, some of these organizations provide laptops for other qualifying groups of people as well.
10. CRC (Computer Recycling Center)
CRC is a not-for-profit organization that has been refurbishing computers and giving them to those in need since 1991.
One of the groups CRC helps is disabled people. You may also qualify for a free computer through CRC if you are a veteran, a home-bound elderly person or on government assistance.
Note that in order to get a laptop from CRC you need to contact a governing agency that helps you.
For instance, if you are disabled, your contact at the Social Security Disability office may be willing to contact CRC on your behalf.
If you’re a veteran, your contact at the VA may be able to contact CRC for you.
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11. Beaumont Foundation
The Beaumont Foundation of America exists to help the underprivileged. This organization helps people in a number of ways.
One of the ways they help people is by giving computers to children of fallen heroes and those with other life hurdles that make buying a computer difficult.
Along with giving away free laptops, this organization assists food banks, the homeless and more.
12. With Causes
With Causes is a charitable organization that accepts donated laptops and other computers to give to those in need.
You may be eligible for a free laptop if you:
- Live in a low-income family
- Live in a women’s shelter for battered women
- Are a military member or veteran of the military
To find out if you qualify for a free laptop from With Causes, simply fill out their online form. You’ll be asked what your specific needs and situation are.
As with other charitable organizations, receiving a laptop from With Causes may affect your government assistance benefits.
Be sure to check with the proper local authorities before receiving a free laptop.
13. Computers with Causes
Computers with Causes collects donated computers to give to kids and others. According to their websites, they give computers to underprivileged kids, returning military members and households in need.
They also give computers to foster homes and educational programs. To get a free laptop, you need to fill out an application and explain your need.
The goal of the organization is to ensure people with the highest need get computers first. Therefore, be prepared to answer questions regarding your application.
Also, the site mentions that receiving a free laptop from the organization may affect any government benefits you receive. As such, you may want to check with your benefits department before applying for a free computer.
Computers with Causes operates in all 50 U.S. states.
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14. Attend an Online College
Some online colleges will give you a free laptop computer or iPad if you attend their college. It’s important to check tuition costs in order to be sure the price of tuition is worth the free computer.
Some colleges will raise tuition costs to cover the price of the laptop, so be sure to shop around. The Open Education Database has a list of online colleges that offer free laptops.
This will make it easier for you to find a free laptop for attending an online school.
15. Local Colleges and Universities
Many local colleges, universities and tech colleges will provide free laptops to students attending those schools.
These free laptops aren’t laptops you can keep forever. However, your local school may offer you a free laptop to use while you are attending online or in-person school.
You’ve got a better chance at finding a school that will give you a free laptop to use if your choice of study involves needing a computer, such as a Graphic Design degree.
Talk with schools in your area to see if they offer free laptop computers for students to use.
If you find a school that does, be sure to read the fine print of the computer usage contract for specific rules and regulations.
Though not just anyone can get a free computer, there are organizations and government programs out there to help those in need.
There are also local program resources to get a low-priced laptop even if you’re just a regular person looking for a deal.