Some ways that people can obtain a free laptop include joining or becoming associated with a nonprofit organization, qualifying as a special needs individual or checking with the equipment recycling departments of corporations or government agencies. Approaching a civic organization and volunteering time and effort into community outreach projects that involve the use of a portable computing device can help to qualify an individual for free equipment from manufacturers or dealer programs that assist nonprofit groups. Free recycled computers can also be obtained through community groups, such as the Freecycle Network, as advised by Charles DiBella, director of the Nonprofit Recycling Network.
For individuals who are considering an online education, there are online colleges that provide their students with free laptops. As of 2015, seven online colleges, including Seton Hill University and St. John's University, provide their online students with free laptops, as reported by the Open Education Database. The website lists three additional colleges that provide loaner laptops that must be returned upon graduation, and seven other colleges that offer heavily discounted purchase plans for their students.
Low income families and individuals with disabilities or special needs can find sources for free computers at the Angie's Angel Help Network website. Most of the programs listed that offer free computers will require that the applicants provide proof of their income or special need to qualify, as noted by the website.