Authored by Dave Mallisk in Computer Hardware
Published on 10-07-2009
There are NO free laptops for students, or anyone. However, a few schools and colleges allow students to borrow laptops. Surfing the internet for free laptops yields mostly scams, near scams, and nearly-useless advice.
Borrowing a School Laptop
You might be able to borrow a laptop from your school or college. Here are three examples:
- CollegeAmerica can lend you a laptop computer if you are one of its students. The laptop remains CollegeAmerica property until you graduate. At that time, CollegeAmerica gives you the laptop as a graduation gift. If you fail to graduate, you must return the computer to College America. For more information, see CollegeAmerica.
- Sometimes, when you borrow a college laptop computer, you can use it only within a specified location, such as in the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Reeve Union.
- You might need to reserve a college laptop computer before you can borrow it. For example, see Univerity of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Student Support Services.
You can either receive free-laptop scams through unsolicited email, or view them on the internet.
For a typical email free-laptop scam offer, here’s an official University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh warning: There’s no free lunch and no free laptop.
Here’s an example free-laptop scam internet ad. It says “How To Get Free Laptop? Put your Zip Code, Get Free Laptop – No Credit Card Required At All.” This site is run by Consumer Incentive Rewards. People have reported this “offer” as a scam. For more information, see RipoffReport.com.
Free-Laptop Near Scams
Some near-scam websites offer technically-free laptops in exchange for participation in sponsor offers that include:
- Memberships, such as a music-club through which you must purchase at least one CD during your first year.
- “Free” trials that are not so free after one month.
- Credit cards for which you must apply and receive approval.
The laptops are really not so free because participation in sponsor offers requires great effort and much money. For example, one near-scam website requires that you select 13 sponsor offers. For every sponsor offer in which you participate, you must perform a procedure similar to the following:
- Complete an online form.
- Make a payment, of course through your credit card. This is inherently risky, especially if you are paying through a public computer. (See Are Internet Cafes Truly Safe?)
- Wait for the sponsor to deliver its goods or services.
- Report your participation to the near-scam website. You can only hope the sponsor also validates your participation. Each sponsor has differing rules, all of which you must obey.
- Cancel the sponsor’s future goods or services, if possible. You will almost always need to make one monthly payment because you cannot cancel your participation until after the sponsor has validated it, which usually requires at least one month.
As you can see, this process can be quite complex. Also, remember that you need to participate in 12 other sponsor offers. After doing so much work and spending so much money, you might be better off working at a minimum wage job long enough to save for a laptop.
Nearly-Useless Free-Laptop Advice
Some websites offer nearly-useless, but possibly well-meaning, free-laptop advice, including:
- Enter a drawing or a contest to win a laptop.
- After a rich friend buys a new laptop, beg for his or her old laptop.
- Ask your parents to give you a laptop instead of a money gift.
Of course, while doing any of the above, you need only tell your professors that you promise to start working on your assignments immediately after you obtain a laptop.