Modern-day education is incomplete without access to a computer and high-speed internet. It enables the students to work and gain knowledge seamlessly.
Having a laptop gives the students an open workspace to store their notes, organize study materials, make schedules, and complete assignments.
Furthermore, since the onset of the pandemic, the importance of having a laptop has grown multi-fold for a student. From attending classes to giving exams, everything has to be done on laptops only.
However, according to a survey, families or individuals with income less than $15,000 often struggle to attain a personal computer for educational purposes.
This leads to the digital divide and hampers the learning process. While buying a laptop is not always a viable option, plenty of programs aim to help such students by providing them with a laptop for free.
Many groups, organizations, foundations, and NGOs around the United States offer free computers to low-income families. These computers can offer the necessary access to employment and provide more fair access to information and education.
Besides laptops, students and individuals can get free wireless data under the Lifeline Assistance Program. If they qualify for the lifeline, the free data will help the students to easily access the internet. Along with free data, many wireless operators offer talk-time as well.
But, how to get a free laptop?
Here are some of the steps you can take to get a free laptop.
- Do your research
Many organizations and foundations help or provide low-income students, families, or individuals with laptops and computers. While some organizations give refurbished products, others act as a platform that connects laptop donors with potential beneficiaries.
So, begin your research with the foundation or organization that fits your needs and solves your purpose.
- Check the eligibility criteria
Not every person is eligible for a free refurbished laptop, and most organizations have stringent processes to ensure laptops only go to those who need them. So, check if you fit the eligibility criteria of the shortlisted organizations.
- Learn what documents you will need to apply
Most foundations have a clear set of documents that they need for verification. So, read up on the required documents and proofs beforehand and make sure you have all the necessary documents on hand.
For instance, the ONIT foundation requires proof that a student avails free or reduced lunch at public school to be eligible for a free refurbished laptop. Moreover, the applicants need to write the application on the school’s letterhead with explicit proof of reduced or free lunches.
Preparing the proofs or documents you need beforehand will ease the process.
- Fill the application
Follow the guidelines and instructions given on the organization’s portal to fill out the application. Be sure to attach the documents and proofs in the stipulated format and order; otherwise, your application may get rejected.
After filling the application, there is nothing you can do other than wait. These things can take time as most of the foundations and organizations providing such support to students are often understaffed and overworked.
Therefore, it is best to apply to multiple sources to improve your chances as a rule of thumb. All of these programs have extensive waiting periods and high rejection rates, so be prepared for the worst.
Besides reaching out to various foundations or NGOs, you must also try local goodwill, social services, and educational institutions.
If you are still trying to figure out how to get a free laptop, you may consider scouring through Craigslist listings. But, if you are a college student, you can seek help from the university as they often have provisions for such cases.