It is the digital age, you know. that means access to technology is necessary. Thankfully, the state of California knows the importance of digital literacy in education and has many programs with free laptops for students in California. Obviously, this initiative can eliminate any form of digital divide and ensure that all students, regardless of their economic background. So, you all have equal opportunities to succeed academically.
We have collected and compiled a list of some of the most prominent free laptop programs available to students in California in this article. So, you don’t have to worry about where or where not to find them anymore.
Free Laptops for Students in California
Below are some of the top programs that offer free laptops for students in California:
1. One Million Lights
Start by applying for a free PC via One Million Lights. This is a non-profit organization based in Palo Alto, California with a mission to improve the lives of children around the world through solar energy and technology. They partner with several schools to provide free laptops to students in need in California. Thanks to the belief that access to technology can empower students to learn, create, and connect with the world.
2. Computers 2 Kids, San Diego
Computers 2 Kids, San Diego (C2K) is also a non-profit organization that provides computers to families with children in pre-kindergarten through high school. Our findings show that they refurbish donated computers and distribute them to students in need. C2K also offers digital literacy training to parents and students, ensuring they can effectively use the technology provided. So, they are not only about the free laptops for students in California.
Sign up for Computers 2 Kids in San Diego HERE.
You should also apply for a free PC on PowerMyLearning. They are more commonly recognized as a national non-profit that strengthens the learning relationships between students, teachers, and families. In California, they operate the Family Learning Workshops, where students from all families receive free laptops and learn how to use them to support their children’s education.
This organization believes that by empowering parents with technology, they can properly engage in children’s learning. Of course, it is also a direct win for society as you get to learn or improve your digital skills.
4. Oakland Technology Exchange West (OTX West)
Perhaps, you should try out OTX West based in Oakland, California. You can get free laptops for students in California here, as well as internet access to help you stay connected to technology. OTX West also provides digital literacy training to ensure recipients can effectively use the technology.
5. California Connects Mobile Internet
While not a laptop program, California Connects Mobile Internet is worth mentioning. This program, run by the Foundation for California Community Colleges, provides affordable mobile internet to students. For just $19.99 per month, students receive unlimited 4G LTE data, ensuring they have the connectivity necessary to use their laptops for educational purposes.
6. Tech Exchange
Tech Exchange is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California. You can get free refurbished computers as a student. In addition to providing technology, Tech Exchange also offers digital literacy training to ensure recipients can effectively use the technology.
7. Computers for Classrooms
Computers for Classrooms is based in Chico, California, and provides refurbished computers to students and schools. They offer alongside free laptops for students in California, training workshops for teachers and students to ensure they can effectively use the technology.
8. California State University System
When colleges in the California State University system sent students home from campus in spring 2020, it quickly became clear that some students lacked reliable access to the internet or computers through which to participate in their pandemic-era emergency remote courses. In response, the university system has been working to provide technology to students to bridge the digital divide. This has translated to several opportunities for free laptops for students, thanks to the new normal.
9. Fresno Unified School District
Also recommended is Fresno, California, a local school district that has been using HP EliteBook 850s to provide students with access to technology. This program is not just about providing laptops, but also about integrating technology into the curriculum and teaching students how to use these tools effectively.
10. Lammersville Unified School District
While making applications for a new or refurbished PC, don’t forget Lammersville Unified School District in California. This program allows you to take laptops home over the summer. It is an initiative that curbs the ‘summer slide,’ (a phenomenon where students lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year).
11. zSpace Inc.
zSpace Inc., a Silicon Valley company, has launched the world’s first augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) laptop. According to a national study, schools with one-to-one laptop environments, like the one provided by zSpace, show higher levels of academic achievement.
Universities in Califonia with Free Laptops for Students
Let’s not stop at the programs offering free PCs! We are delving further into free laptop programs offered by some universities in California:
1. California State University, Bakersfield
The university’s STEP Program is a remarkable initiative that aims to bridge the digital divide among students. Recognizing that financial constraints can hinder academic progress, the university provides free loaner laptops to students who demonstrate financial need. This ensures that all students, regardless of their economic background, have equal access to digital resources for their academic pursuits. You can see HERE for yourself.
2. California State University, East Bay
East Bay has implemented a comprehensive laptop loaner program that is available to all students, regardless of their financial status. This program, which allows students to check out laptops every semester, underscores the university’s commitment to fostering an inclusive learning environment where every student has the necessary tools to succeed.
3. California State University, Fullerton
Fullerton mirrors East Bay’s approach by offering a semester-long laptop loaner program to all its students. By doing so, Fullerton ensures that technological needs do not become a barrier to education, thereby promoting digital equity among its student population.
4. Berkeley City College
Berkeley City College stands out with its innovative approach to online learning. Recognizing the importance of digital access in today’s education landscape, the college provides not only free laptops but also WiFi hotspots to students enrolled in their programs. This initiative ensures that students can access their coursework and resources from anywhere, making education more flexible and accessible.
5. Mt. San Antonio College
The California College Promise program, AB 19, allocated $46 million to the state’s 114 community colleges to help students cover some of their costs, not necessarily tuition. The law allows colleges to use funds to help students cover a range of costs, from free tuition for students who don’t qualify as low-income to free laptops and textbook vouchers. For example, Mt. San Antonio College in Los Angeles County is spending all of its state College Promise program funds on student services for all new first-time students and none on tuition.
First-time students who complete a summer boot camp can receive a laptop, $500 in book or supply vouchers, $200 to purchase on-campus food, waived mandatory fees, plus academic perks like priority course registration and additional mentoring.
These programs and universities with free laptops for students in California seek one thing in common – equal access to digital education. The understanding is that in this 21st century, access to a laptop and reliable internet is fundamental and synonymous with having textbooks.
The advantage of these provisions is leveling the playing field, and ensuring that all students, regardless of their financial circumstances, have the tools they need to succeed in modern academics.
Ultimately, it is better to apply for multiple offers to increase your chance of grabbing this free laptop opportunity as a student. Lastly, don’t get the laptop alone, remember to share this post with people you think might need the information in California.