For those who have computers and other modern technical appliances, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are many disadvantaged families in our community who can’t enjoy all these benefits.
When you’re living below the poverty line, computers and Internet access can seem to be unreachable.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, 15% of U.S. adults do not use the internet, and out of that number, 19% said they couldn’t afford it. And this is despite the many recent government and social service programs built to encourage internet adoption.
Fortunately, people have come together to form local and national organizations that will provide computers for free or at a low cost to low-income families.
For some programs, you need to be registered on government programs to prove your level of need; for others, a statement of family income will suffice.
What will I learn?
How to Get a Free Laptop or Computer for Families with Low Income
Here are some organizations that have taken it upon themselves to assist in establishing computer literacy for those who could normally not afford it.
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1. Computer Technology Assistance Corps (CTAC)
CTAC is an organization that accepts donations of old computers, wipes out all data, and refurbishes them before reloading a new system. Then when it comes to selling laptops, they don’t charge crazy price. They sell laptops at a nominal cost. It is New Hampshire based but has contacts around the country.
It provides them to families receiving government or state assistance, and to registered nonprofits with a need.
2. Microsoft Registered Refurbishers
Microsoft set up a program specifically for the purpose of providing computer refurbishers with genuine Microsoft software for low-income families and charities.
Microsoft provides the software on a cost recovery basis to eligible applicants.
3. Computers With Causes
Computers with Causes is a national program providing computers to low-income families or to eligible groups.
You can fill out the request form for more information.
4. The On It Foundation
The On It Foundation is Florida-based and provides free computers to eligible applicants.
In addition to giving low income families the equipment, it ensures that they can be used fully by giving training and Internet access.
5. Technology Assisting People In Need
This time Ohio-based, Technology Assisting People in Need is a nonprofit organization that gives computers to low income families and to disabled persons.
6. Komputers 4 R Kids
Update: They have shut down!
Komputer4RKids runs a big volunteer program, picking up old computers and equipment and refurbishing them.
The items that are of no use to the donation program are sent to a recycling facility.
7. With Causes
Another nonprofit organization that takes in old computers, checks them out and makes sure that they are distributed to families who need them and to nonprofit organizations.
8. Recycle The World
Recycle the World is effectively a bulletin board for people in communities to post lists of items they no longer want and will give away, and for other people to find them.
The idea is that you take freely and give freely so that anything that still has useful value can find someone who needs it.
It covers much more than just computers.
You have to register and will be sent a password. If you’re searching for a particular item, there is a wanted items section for you to post in.
9. World Computer Exchange
Not so much for the individual, World Computer Exchange is dedicated to providing computers and Internet access to youth in developing countries. It places computers in community settings where they can be used the most.
It does this by partnering with groups, such as governments, schools, libraries, NGOs, etc. who have identified a need.
10. Smart Riverside
This is an example of a local program, in this case in Riverside, California. It shows how nonprofits, local businesses, and government can all work together to make computers available to the needy.
This program offers free computers to families which earn less than $45,000, a very low income in California.
Free Computer Access
Many libraries have computers available that you can use if you are a library member, although you may be limited to a one-hour session at the time to ensure that everyone has access.
You can also ask at community centers and even schools whether they allow any public access to computers. Although if you are reading this, you have some sort of access to computers and the Internet, it may be borrowed access from a friend or a library.
Check for Local Programs
Also, don’t forget that many states and local governments do have free or low-cost laptops and computers for low-income families.
For example, in my home state of Missouri, WITS (Web Innovation & Technology Services) has been providing free or low-cost electronics as well as school supplies to local families. They even have Desktop computers starting at $50 with Windows & Open Office already installed.
So be sure to check with your local organizations first if you are in need of free or cheap laptops and computers.
You should also keep an eye on Freecycle, an online network of communities, which brings together people who are offering free goods in your local area.
You can sign up for free to your local group, and see what is available.
You should also check out Craigslist. There are times when people do give out used computers either for free or for a very nominal price.
Computer literacy is essential in the modern world, and if you need to have better access, I encourage you to look into the ideas above.
If you know someone or a low-income family in need of free laptops and computers, please help them by forwarding this information.
Hi there,my name is Anita Brits form South Africa and I’m hoping that I maybe stand a chance at receiving 1 of those laptops. I try to do survey’s and anything to earn extra cash,I use my Android phone but does work for most of them. I would love to tell my story if I may.
Anita, you have to visit the sites mentioned here and fill out an application.
Me to from south Africa
I am from Nigeria. I read about your
computer free gift program. Am I eligible to request for a free laptop? If yes how do I come about it? Thanks.
You have to check with each individual organization. Perhaps check out World Computer Exchange.
As for how it works, each organization has its own rules and requirements.
Good luck, Wisdom!
I am a single grandmother raising my 4 yr old granddaughter
Hi im cathy a divorced single mother and I wanted to know if I qualify for a free laptop . I need your help please .Thank you
Cathy, you can get in touch with the organization mentioned din this post to see if you qualify. Good luck.
Hello my name is Tina I’m starting up my new Virtual customer service assistant business and I need a desktop computer, printer, oh a headset I know that a lot to ask for, but I need help getting off the ground fax. I have two companies that have already hired me
hie my name is Dalitso am from Malawi i was wondering if i could get one of these laptops failed to finish my college studies coz i couldnt do my asignments well coz of lack of a laptop,
hi my name is Lisa and im from Ohio , it has been my dream to get my diploma and awhole woild would ope up to me. See, im 54 years old ,my main dream was to have a husband and children . be a great mother and and great wife. I was 17 when i quit school do do just that. I had my husband and then i had my son and i swore id stay home and take care of him and thats what i did. The best job i ever had . then i got pregnant and had to go through acessarean section ,oh but i didnt care i had my little girland something went wrong and they have to remove my uterus . But i was so blesses with one of each and almost 2 years apart. BUt i was only 21 at that time. So i raised my children and then my son had a son and mg daughter had a boy and she didnt want that responsibility , so i got to raise her newborn son and i raised her 2nd newborn son. her 3 rd boy had problems and had to stay in the hospital so my daughter bonded woth him and my husband and i got our own place so she would learn to take care of her ouwn children. Long story shojrt i was praying most my adult life that somewhoi could finish my high scholl corses and graduate even at 54. I am will to pay for classes but cant afford a new computer. I passed 9th grade and then failed 19th grade english, so they started me in the 11th grade with 10th gradw english and at that time i had got married and quite school. Now i have achance to take the 10th grade english and the 11th and 12th grade years but i need a much better computer. God bless you for reading this. Lisa Lewis
I have 2 children I picked homeschooling for the option since we are in this COVID-19 pandemic. I need a computer definitely for their learning since I choose for them to be at home. I get Medicaid the kids get Medicaid and the children get Free lunches at school I did get food stamps at one time they have stopped momentarily b/c of certain information I didn’t send in and recently moved.
Hi I’m daisy .I’m from India . I want a free Laptop because I could not do my projects well because of lack of laptop☹️
This was so helpful. I’m a college student looking for a free printer. This gave me a few ideas. I’d also mention that HP is looking for people to test out their products for one year. I applied (fingers crossed). You simply have to review the product during your use throughout the year. Thanks again!
Hi my name is Christopher. I’m trying to get help on getting another laptop my have crashed on me middle of my courses online going back and forward to the library because the rotavirus is hard on me and it’s slowing up my school work right now I have to stay in in my house to do school on my smart phone can anybody help me to get a free reference laptop thank you.
Dear Lisa Lewis,
I am so proud of you. First off the fact that you still want your high school diploma is amazing and touched. So many do not realize how much it means to someone as yourself. I hope that you would take the opportunity to go one and enroll in a college. Even just for yourself if no one else or whether you want to work or not, you would be amazed at the feeling of seeing your name on the Dean’s list or better still the President’s list. There are schools that will provide computers for such depending on where you live. I honestly do not know how I got to this site to get back, I would like to connect with you and share some personal experience’s with you. You are a very upstanding woman that makes the rest of us wish that we had/have the courage and strength that you do. My email is email@example.com. Also if you have an Amazon account or Kindle look up the book “The Successful Failure”, it changed my life and the lives of others. It is a simple read (not implying that you cant) but meaning that it is written so that it is understandable.
I was on disability for 15 years and was injured in a car accident at 23 on my way to my nursing job. It ended my career. From then on my family told me what a loser I was and that I would be poor and better find a rich man, I would never amount to anything, and many other very personal things occurred during this time. When you think that your family is supposed to be supportive and not financially but emotionally, psychologically, and protective mine berated me and this book showed me that I was still the same person and capable of learning anything that I wanted. I am now in the top of my class and have survived two episodes of sepsis renal failure (many days on life support) and therapy at home learning how to walk, talk, feed myself, everything all over again. I never dropped out of college nor did my GPA become affected. I became more dedicated and determined to show them and MYSELF (my twin 10 yr. old daughters) that no matter what life throws at you, you pick up the pieces and move onward. My life has in no way been easy but the book taught me about my life and how to change it.
Again I am proud of you and would love to help you get to where you want to be. Also, look into colleges that offer programs that help with completing your Diploma and offer assistance with the computers. I know that Strayer University helps new students receive devices and several others as well but I am not sure about the diploma part. You may have to call several of the ones that pull up and many hours on the phone but it just may be worth it. Please feel free to reach out to me, I am willing to help you, tutor for free, or anything that I can. I have faith that your dream will come true.
Also, look up free computers on Money Pantry and there is a list of companies that offer applications for this.
For the person looking for a printer, Wal-Mart has them for less than $40.
Pavan V Vagale
Hi I want free laptop
Hi I also need a free laptop for my education because it hard to do my project by my phone
Kesha (and other readers who need help) you will need to contact the organizations that we mentioned in the post. Click their links to go to their website for contact info.