The COVID-19 pandemic has radically altered the way we live and work. With prolonged disruptions in the supply chains worldwide. We witnessed record inflation, millions of daily wage workers were then unemployed, then schools and malls were shut down.
Moreover, hospitals were overrun with patients, and people were confined to their homes due to the quarantine and lockdown measures to prevent the virus's spread. This led to increased work-from-home situations, and online education and virtual workplaces became the norm.
Even if we ignore the changing nature of the workplace and education due to the pandemic, the more and more people move towards a truly digital world, the more they feel the need to stay connected at all times. Smartphones afford the connectivity we all desire in this digital age, but one must have access to a computer at all times to stay truly connected.
Getting an education is an uphill battle, especially if your parents are deceased. Learn more about scholarships for kids with deceased parents.
How To Get A Computer For Free?
People who can barely make ends meet often ask how to get a broken laptop for free. There are many options out there that are available to eligible people to get an accessible computer. Many government and private organizations work day in and day out to bridge this technological divide. All you need to do is meet their requirements to qualify for an accessible computer.
Organizations That Offer Free Computers
Due to the digital aspects of the modern workplace, homes, and educational institutions, computer access is vital in reducing poverty. The number of households in the United States with no computer or internet access is astounding.
According to a 2020 Household Pulse Survey, nearly 4.5 million families with students did not have computer access, and 3.7 million households had no access to the internet. With the advent of remote work, e-learning, and distant learning, computers are no longer considered a luxury but rather a basic need of nearly every individual and household.
If you need a computer but have no means to buy one, look at the following ways to get a free computer.
The OnIt Foundation has been on a mission since 1999 to distribute free computers among deserving low-income K-12 students studying in public schools. It is a non-profit organization that collects donated computers in collaboration with schools, community organizations, and businesses.
The foundation also imparts technology training and offers free internet access as part of its mission.
Parents can apply for the accessible computer for their children by writing a letter or sending an email to the foundation with details about their financial conditions. This opportunity is available just for US residents, and the children who wish to qualify must be recipients of free/reduced at their school.
Computers with Causes is a non-profit charitable organization offering more than 20,000 free computers annually. These computers, often refurbished, are procured by the organization as donations. With thousands of requests coming in every month, Computers With Causes focuses on needy students, teachers, disabled veterans, foster kids, the elderly, and military families.
If you qualify for this offer, you can fill out their online application and explain your situation to receive a free refurbished computer. To qualify for a free computer, applicants must be able to prove financial hardship, provide valid references, and pass a background check.
Applications are valid for 30 days, and you can reapply after 30 days have lapsed with no response. This organization operates and has donors in every state.
PCs for People is another non-profit organization that provides free and low-cost refurbished laptops/computers to needy, disabled individuals, and low-income households under their mission of bridging the digital divide. They have a set of eligibility criteria they use to screen deserving recipients. Potential recipients should be:
- Current participants of a (state/federal) income-based government assistance program, or
- Under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or
- Under 60% of the area's median income.
You can visit the PCs for People's website for eligibility details and required documents.
The Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse is a conglomerate of more than 85 volunteer-based non-profit companies that refurbish and distribute nearly 30,000 free and low-cost computers within low-income communities. They seek to encourage the refurbishment and reuse of technology in schools of the nation with the shared goal of bridging and ultimately eliminating the digital divide. Donations are the primary driving force behind this collaborative effort.
Give Educators and technologists founded technology to get technology into the hands of the ones who need it the most. Because they have no staff on the payroll and most of the work is done by volunteers, the only cost they incur is the one (cash donations) that goes into upgrading the computers they receive from donors.
The following donors provide computers they want to discard, replace, or donate. Give Technologies offers safe and secure destruction of data to alleviate data and privacy concerns.
- Businesses that have a periodic computer replacement policy.
- Schools that receive funding for newer PCs and replace old computers and other equipment every few years.
- Individuals who can afford to buy the latest computers every year.
- Religious organizations that receive donated computers.
- Government entities that donate old computers on a large scale.
To request a free computer, fill out this online form with your information and wait for them to contact you back.
Benefits Of A Free Computer
If you are a student, unemployed, or come from a low-income household, you are most likely eligible to receive a free computer. A free computer can open up a host of new opportunities for yourself and your family members. The following are the benefits that you can get from a free computer.
- Better education: Students can take advantage of laptops by taking notes, researching, writing papers and assignments, accessing online information resources, and even taking exams online. Several disciplines of study, such as software engineering, architecture, and design, necessitate the use of computers.
- Note-taking: Laptops can help professionals take notes more effectively during meetings, note down their thoughts during personal and group brainstorming sessions, quickly pull up supporting documents to assist them in their ongoing tasks, and work on the go.
- Productivity: Students and professionals tend to be more productive, have better organization, and work faster when they use computers than when they do the respective tasks manually.
- Efficient group work: Group work becomes more convenient as individuals can work simultaneously from different locations. This is beneficial for students who seek to work on a mutual project and for professionals who need to coordinate with their colleagues in different cities or countries. File sharing, video sharing, and screen sharing are a few tools that make online tutoring, real-time presentations, and virtual meetings possible.
- Communication: Computers are one of the modern world's leading communications tools. This communication may be between professionals, students, or students and teachers. Social media is a critical means of communication that has given a voice to nearly every connected individual on the planet.
- Research: Research today no longer means that you must confine yourself to the library and spend long hours searching for information, comparing papers, or reading books. You can simply use the internet to pull up your required information from the endless online archives and current, up-to-date publications. Online blogs, vlogs, and tutorials make it easy for individuals to consume and utilize information more efficiently.
- Job search: The internet is the leading source of jobs in the world. No matter the type of skills you possess, your experience, or your geographical location, there are always jobs available online that are a good fit for you. There are hundreds of online job boards that post new job openings daily.
- Online shopping: In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent shutdowns, the popularity of eCommerce and online shopping has soared to an all-time high. Consumers now prefer to order online rather than visit traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This has created numerous job and new business opportunities. A free computer can help you get acquainted with this new normal and shop online from the comfort of your home.
Finding organizations and programs that offer free computers may seem easy, but you need to watch out for scams asking for advance payment (sign-up fee) or your private information. Even if you do not qualify for a free computer, you can get one so steeply discounted that it is nearly free.
Having your own computer at home can boost your chances of finding more ways to access grants and government support and help maximize opportunities as you live and work in the US.
If you are interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation, read our article on how to get free money from government hardship grants. Check out the rest of Gov Relations' blog section today!