12 Ways to Get Free Laptops For Low-Income Families and Students

So you need a laptop but can’t afford to buy one?

Don’t worry; there are ways to get a free laptop if you’re a student, come from a low-income family, or are a senior citizen. You have some options to score a laptop at no cost so you can get online and be productive.

While some require applying and qualifying for specific programs, others are as simple as knowing where to look. Here is how you can get a free laptop and open up more opportunities through technology.

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Apply for Charity Programs That Provide Free Laptops

If you’re a student, come from a low-income family, or are a senior citizen, keep hope – some charities and nonprofits provide free laptops. Applying for their programs is worth the effort.

National Cristina Foundation

The National Cristina Foundation is a nonprofit that gives out laptops to needy people. They partner with major tech companies to refurbish used laptops and donate them to people who can benefit. To qualify, you must meet their income requirements and explain how a laptop would help improve your life.

On It Foundation

The On It Foundation provides free laptops, computers, and technical training. They focus on helping students, seniors, veterans, and underserved groups. You fill out an application on their website, and if selected, you can receive a free refurbished laptop loaded with educational software and an optional tech support plan.

Computers with Causes

Computers with Causes offers free computers to families and individuals who meet their eligibility requirements, like students, seniors, or veterans with limited income. They accept applications on their website year-round. They will ship you a free laptop or desktop computer to keep if chosen.

Look for Government Assistance Programs

As a student, senior citizen, or low-income family, you can get a free or low-cost laptop through government assistance programs. The government wants to help bridge the digital divide and make technology accessible to needy people.

Several programs are available to help pay for laptops and internet service. Benefits.gov allows you to check your eligibility for over 1,000 state and federal benefit programs, including:

  • The Emergency Rental Assistance program has provided over $46 billion in funding to support housing stability during the pandemic. Some of this money can be used for laptops and internet service.
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program is a $14 billion federal program to help ensure affordable internet connections for work, school, and essential needs. Eligible households can receive up to $30/month off internet service and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
  • Specific grants for students, seniors, and low-income individuals are available through non-profits and private organizations. Do some research on groups in your local community that may offer technology grants or donations.

You must typically provide documents verifying your income, student status, or age to apply for these programs. The application process can often be done online, over the phone, or in person, depending on the specific program.

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Search Online for Free Laptop Offers

Here are some online options: 

Check Your Local Online Classifieds

Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and NextDoor are all great places to find people giving away free laptops in your area. You may be able to find older models from people upgrading to newer tech.

Search the “free” sections and set up alerts for keywords like “laptop,” “computer,” or “MacBook.” Be ready to act fast, as good deals tend to go quickly!

Look for Student Discounts and Free Offers

Many colleges and universities offer free laptops, tablets, or other tech for students, especially those in need. Contact your school’s financial aid office to inquire about any programs they may offer.

Large companies like Dell, HP, and Lenovo also frequently run student discount promotions where you can score a new laptop at a steep discount or even for free.

Search for Low-Income and Senior Assistance

Organizations like The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and local senior centers can help you obtain a free refurbished laptop if you meet specific income requirements.

Explain your situation, provide details on your financial need, and ask if they have any laptop donation programs or know of resources that could help. Some charities receive bulk tech donations from companies that they can refurbish and distribute to those in need.

Look for Additional Free Offers Online

Do some searching online for the terms “free laptop” or “free computer” along with “low income,” “student,” or “senior.” You may find special offers from companies trying to build goodwill.

Check sites like Freecycle, a grassroots movement where people give (and get) stuff for free in their towns. Someone in your community may want to donate an older but usable laptop. You never know what opportunities you might find if you search around online!

Check With Your Local School District

Check with your local school district to see if they offer free laptops or tablets for needy students. Many districts provide technology to help students from low-income families or those without internet access at home.

Contact your school district’s technology department and inquire about their free laptop programs for students. Explain your situation, whether you’re low-income, don’t have a computer at home, or can’t afford internet access.

See if you qualify for their free laptop or tablet initiative based on your economic status or lack of resources. Districts aim to provide technology to students who need it most.

You can get a free refurbished laptop, Chromebook, or tablet for schoolwork if eligible. Ensure to follow all rules about appropriate use and return the device after the school year or as required.

Some districts also offer subsidized or low-cost internet access for students in need so they can get online at home. Don’t hesitate to also ask about available connectivity programs.

Ask Friends or Family Members if They Have an Extra Laptop

Chances are, someone you know has an older laptop they no longer use. Don’t be afraid to ask around – your friends and family may be happy to donate their unused tech to someone in need.

Put the word on social media that you’re looking for a laptop

Keep it simple. Explain your situation and that you’re hoping to find a used model that still works well. You never know who may have one collecting dust in their closet.

Talk to your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles

The older generation frequently upgrades to the latest and greatest tech, leaving perfect devices behind. Politely explain why having a laptop would help you in your studies or job search. Offer to wipe it clean and repair it to keep it running smoothly.

Ask your tech-savvy friends

Those constantly upgrading their gear may have an older laptop they’d be willing to part with for a good cause. Let them know you’d happily take an older yet still functional model off their hands.

Check with local charities and non-profits

Some organizations refurbish used laptops and donate them to those in need. Explain your situation, and they can match you with a suitable device, often for free or at a meager cost.

Be willing to do some minor repairs or upgrades yourself. If a friend or family member offers you a few years old laptop, you may need to install more memory, replace the battery or do some essential software upgrades to get the best performance. But for the free price, a little effort on your end can go a long way.


With some searching and applying, you can find programs to help you get a free laptop. While it may take some work, the rewards of gaining access to technology can be life-changing. Stay determined and keep looking for solutions.

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