If you’re packing your bags and heading to college next summer then I have no doubt that high atop your list of the things you’ll need is new a computer or laptop to help complete class projects and papers. A student laptop was anything but common back in my day with the shuffling back and forth to overcrowded computer labs. The college laptop has become an almost essential piece of college student equipment today. And while schools still have those crappy computer labs, most students prefer to have their own portable computer to use to complete their work. So if you’re attending school soon and already have concerns about simply paying for tuition and housing, how do you go about finding laptop grants for college students? Here are a handful of programs you should definitely look into.
Apple Scholars Program
Unfortunately, Apple Computers axed their grant program which included a free MacBook for students quite a few years back. We at Grants Guys think that the world’s most valuable company should reconsider. Certainly they have a couple of extra laptops laying around their offices in Cupertino, California. Oh, don’t worry, they assure us they don’t. But this isn’t uncommon as none of the other large computer manufacturers are lining up to offer free laptops to college students either. Hewlett Packard killed their similar student initiative in the past few years also but Apple can and should be able to afford to bring this program back.
Now with all that said, they do now offer discounts to every kid attending school that wants to purchase a laptop rather than offering a much smaller number of students a free computer. That doesn’t help you out very much if you are one of those unable to afford the discounted cost. And on its surface this really only amounts to a typical computer sale if you look at it correctly. This current program is called Apple in Education. It offers a series of discounts on the purchase of Apple products for primary, secondary and college uses. The discounts are available to students, teachers and staff of any school. Many universities keep these discounted Apple products in stock and they are usually available at locations right there on your campus, in the student union or college bookstore. You can browse laptops and other computer products available through the program and check out these education discounts right here on the Apple website. You can also inquire at any Apple store or anywhere their computers are sold like Best Buy. We still think its sad they don’t offer a free laptop grant at Apple.
But there is a scholarship program offered by another Apple altogether and the funds you can receive through it can absolutely be used to purchase a new laptop, made by Apple or any other computer company for that matter. The Apple Federal Credit Union based out of Virginia launched their own scholarship program in 2008 and has donated over three quarters of a Million dollars thus far to students attending college. Check their website starting in late October each year for details on their ongoing scholarship program.
Carolina Computing Initiative
Those attending school in North Carolina have already received over 30,000 computers thus far through the Carolina Computing Initiative first launched for college students there in 1997. Through this program, undergraduate students attending the University of North Carolina are automatically considered for a laptop grant as long as they fill out the school’s financial aid application or CSS Profile by the yearly deadline. To be eligible, you must be seeking your first undergraduate degree and be accepted to attend a UNC system school this following school year. The laptop funding is described as having lower eligibility requirements than being awarded a grant such as the Pell grant so students are encouraged to apply even if they lack the financial need necessary for most college grants. You must fill out the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA to be eligible for consideration to receive a laptop. Students only filling out the FAFSA are not entered for laptop grant consideration. Also, the deadline is pretty early, as laptop awardees are announced in April to ensure time for computers to be ordered for the fall semester. The laptop grant covers the basic laptop purchase only but students are able to buy more expensive products if they add their own monies to the purchase. But you should be aware that if you drop out of school you are required to turn in your laptop to school officials.
If you’re not attending the University of North Carolina, I encourage you to check with the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to find out if they offer a similar laptop assistance program in your area. And I suggest doing so in early January when the yearly opening for federal financial aid begins at your school. Don’t procrastinate and find out you missed a one time deadline for a laptop grant as they are usually only available to incoming freshmen regardless of where you live.
Chickasaw Nation Laptop Scholarship
Sometimes being a member of a particular ethnic group can give you an edge in landing a free laptop for college. This is certainly the case with students who hail from the Chickasaw Nation. In fact, if you’re a Chickasaw then you are truly in luck. The education initiatives of this Indian tribe not only offers their students their very own laptop scholarship but also provides additional funding for other college essentials like textbooks and clothing. Requirements are somewhat low as the Chickasaw award grants to anyone maintaining a 2.0 GPA or higher and scholarships to those with a 3.0 GPA or higher. So they are relatively easy to apply for and also receive. You do have to be a member of the Chickasaw Nation, of course, and that unfortunately leaves most of us out.
But when looking for a laptop grant or any other type of college funding, I suggest you use your head a bit. Figure out what makes you unique as an incoming student and look for organizations dedicated to helping those very students just like you. Are you a member of any type of minority who could benefit from similar funding offered by an ethnic oriented education foundation? Remember also that most grant and scholarship money out there can be used to purchase items necessary to the cause of completing a college degree. In almost all cases, funding can be used to purchase a laptop computer even when its not described as a laptop grant. I wish you luck out there in your search for college funding. We’ll let you know if Apple ever changes their mind about those laptop grants.