10 Low-Cost Online Colleges that Offer Laptop Deals 2024

Author: Adam Birch / Reviewed By: Melissa Maypole / First covered: October 2018
Updates: 4

Welcome to our ranking on affordable online colleges with great laptop deals: discounted, included, or free laptops for your online studies.

The most crucial component of an online degree is the computer. Without one, a degree isn’t possible. Different online programs have different computing and systems requirements. Maybe they’re Mac-compatible, maybe not. Perhaps they work with Windows 7, maybe only with Windows 10. Can your current machine meet the system requirements? Will it still meet the system requirements if it evolves through the two, four, or more years it takes to earn the degree? One of the best ways to ensure your computer will be viable at the end of your degree is to buy a new one when you start the program. Of course, this comes with its own set of problems. Computers are expensive. Even if you buy a new one, will it be optimal for the degree you are pursuing?

Featured Programs

One of the best ways to ensure you get a quality computer at a discounted price (often discounted and included in your tuition and so paid for by financial aid) or even completely free is to acquire your new computer through your school. Schools often have deals with manufacturers that allow them to sell new or refurbished laptops at steeply discounted prices. They often have deals where they wrap the price into the tuition. Some schools even offer computers or tablets to new students free of charge. All the online schools ranked here provide computers to students at discounted rates, as part of tuition, or completely free. The following colleges with free laptops are ranked according to their affordability. We have not listed any details of the deals available through each school because these are constantly in flux as schools search for the best ways to make the best technology accessible to their students. Thus, you must confirm the specifics of the deals with the school’s admissions department.

Ranking Online Schools that Offer Laptops (discounted, included in tuition, or free computers)

#1. University of Southern Mississippi

Website
Tuition: $10,218

The University of Southern Mississippi offers fifteen undergraduate and more than thirty graduate programs online. Among the bachelor’s programs offered are industrial engineering technology, library and information science, medical laboratory science, and nursing (RN to BSN). Graduate programs include the following:

  • Master of Public Health
  • Dyslexia Therapy Education
  • Economic Development
  • Human Capital Development
  • Music Education

Loaner laptops are available on both the Gulf Park and Hattiesburg campuses.

Pros:

  • A great selection of academic programming
  • Student diversity

Cons:

  • Large class sizes
  • Some issues with online education in some programs have been reported

#2. Dakota State University

Website
Tuition: $12,077

Dakota State University offers seven online master’s degrees and 14 online bachelor’s degrees. Certificates and associate-level degrees are also available. Among the available online bachelor’s degrees are programs in:

  • Accounting
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Cyber Leadership and Intelligence
  • Health Information Administration
  • Network and Security Administration

Master’s degrees include:

  • Analytics
  • Cyber Defense
  • Educational Technology
  • Health Informatics
  • Information Management
  • Business Administration

Pros:

  • Faculty is willing to work with students
  • Technology focused institution

Cons:

  • Some issues at the administrative level have been reported
  • Some lack of financial aid accessibility has been reported

#3. Northwest Missouri State University

Website
Tuition: $12,908

Northwest Missouri State University offers undergraduate programs in business management, marketing, and RN to BSN. The more robust selection of online graduate programs includes:

  • General Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Educational Leadership K-12
  • Health and Physical Education

Pros:

  • A highly ranked public university
  • Acceptance rate is higher than the national average

Cons:

  • Graduation rate is lower than the national average
  • High student-to-faculty ratio

#4. Pennsylvania State University

Website
Tuition: $13,988

Pennsylvania State University’s online degrees are primarily offered through its world campus, designed specifically to house its online degree programs. Their selection of bachelor’s degrees has expanded over the years to offer 34+ programs that include:

  • Accounting
  • Agribusiness Management
  • Digital Multimedia Design
  • Economics
  • Energy and Sustainability Policy
  • Health Policy and Administration
  • Political Science
  • Security and Risk Analysis
  • Turfgrass Science

Pros:

  • Excellent alumni network
  • Diversity of student body

Cons:

  • High tuition costs
  • Large class sizes

#5. Clarion University

Website
Tuition: $15,636

Clarion University offers 22 online bachelor’s degrees in areas like:

  • Library Science
  • Women and Gender Studies
  • Global Understanding
  • Allied Health Leadership
  • Medical Imaging
  • Applied Science in Technology Leadership

Among the ten graduate degrees offered are programs like:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Applied Data Analytics
  • Mass Media Arts and Journalism
  • Business Administration

Pros:

  • Faculty is accessible to students
  • Decent student-to-faculty ratio

Cons:

  • Lack of class availability since the merger
  • Some lack of internship opportunities have been reported

#6. University of Florida

Website
Tuition: $16,560

The online degrees at the University of Florida are incredibly cheap, even for non-residents who pay over $10,000 less in tuition than they would when attending on-campus. The University of Florida offers a selection of 19 online bachelor’s degrees, including programs in:

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Environmental Management
  • Health Education and Behavior
  • Public Relations

Pros:

  • Great campus diversity
  • Fantastic alumni network

Cons:

  • Very competitive admissions
  • Large class sizes

#7. Texas Tech University

Website
Tuition: $18,652

Texas Tech University offers ten online bachelor’s degrees and thirty graduate degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include:

  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Wind Energy
  • Human Sciences
  • Political Science
  • Digital Media and Professional Communication

Online graduate degrees offered by TTU include the following:

  • English
  • Technical Communication
  • Educational Leadership
  • Instructional Technology
  • Engineering
  • Public Administration

Pros:

  • Great selection of academic programs
  • Accepts AP and dual credits

Cons:

  • TAs teach many of the classes
  • Student to faculty ratio is high

#8. University of Toledo

Website
Tuition: $18,885

The University of Toledo offers ten online bachelor’s degrees and twelve online graduate degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include:

  • Applied Organizational Technology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Health Information Administration
  • Marketing

Graduate degrees include education and science in:

  • Biology
  • Human Donation Science
  • Recreation and Leisure Administration

Pros:

  • Diverse and interactive student body
  • Faculty is dedicated to student growth and success

Cons:

  • Some issues with advisor availability have been reported
  • Some challenges with student transfer have been reported

#9. Florida International University

Website
Tuition: $18,954

FIU offers a staggering 43 online bachelor’s degrees and 33 graduate degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include:

  • Asian Studies
  • Communication Arts: Organizational Communication Studies
  • Computer Engineering
  • Economics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Health Services Administration

Graduate degrees include the following:

  • Real Estate
  • Special Education
  • Public Health
  • Public Administration
  • Logistics Engineering
  • Human Resource Management

Pros:

  • There are 200+ on campus and 75+ online degree programs
  • A top college for awarding degrees to Latino students

Cons:

  • The acceptance rate is lower than the national average
  • A very high student-to-faculty ratio

#10. Northern Arizona University

Website
Tuition: $19,125

Northern Arizona University offers 51 online bachelor’s degrees (if you include the focus areas for interdisciplinary studies programs). Among these are:

  • Speech-Language Sciences and Technology
  • Technology Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Public Administration
  • Parks and Recreation Management

Pros:

  • Average student debt after graduation is lower than national average
  • Accepts dual and AP credits

Cons:

  • Graduation rate is lower than the national average
  • Known by some as a party school

What Exactly Does an Online Bachelor’s Degree Get Me?

It might sound cliché, but a bachelor’s degree gets you employed. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2016, only 69% of people with just a high school diploma worked full-time, year-round. Compare this to 79% of people with a bachelor’s degree. Young adults with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $50,000 per year, 57% higher than the average of $31,800 earned by those with a high school diploma. So, bachelor’s degrees help with both reaching your potential of working full-time year-round and increasing the rate you are paid for that work. Now, not all majors are created equal. Some earn more on average than others. We’ll look at that next.

What Majors Should I Consider?

Well, it’s essential to do something that interests you. If you don’t want to be an engineer, I can’t recommend that you major in that, even though you make incredibly good money on a bachelor’s degree. However, your interests likely align with some of the best options on the market. Most of the top ten majors are available from one or more schools in this ranking. So I am going to provide you with the financial breakdown of the median earnings for professions related to each of the top ten college majors as ranked by The Princeton Review (I will also mention whether or not it requires a master’s degree to reach the top earnings potential in that field).

  • Computer Science (Bachelor’s Degree): Software Developers: $103,000, Computer Programmers: $82,000
  • Communications Bachelor’s Degree: Public Relations Specialists: $59,300, Technical Writers: $70,930
  • Political Science Bachelor’s Degree: Government: Political Scientist: $115,110, Urban and Regional Planner: $71,490: Master’s Degree
  • Business Administration Bachelor’s Degree: Managers (most fields): $80,000-$130,000
  • Economics Bachelor’s Degree: Financial Analyst: $84,300, Financial Manager: $125,080
  • English Language and Literature (Master’s or Doctorate Degree): Postsecondary Teacher: $76,000
  • Psychology (Masters Degree): Psychologist: $77,030
  • Nursing (Bachelor’s Degree): Registered Nurse: $70,000
  • Chemical Engineering (Bachelor’s Degree): Chemical Engineer $102,160
  • Biology (Bachelor’s Degree): Microbiologist: $69,960

Paying for your Online Bachelor’s Degree

For most degrees, spending your first two years earning your general education credits at a community college makes sense. Earning your associate’s degree can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. In many cases, community college tuition can be covered by just one or two federal grants. Good grades in community college will practically guarantee excellent financial aid and allow you to transfer into just about all the best state universities. So if you’re looking to get your college education for a great price, community college is a great place to start. Many community colleges offer online programs, so chances are you can attend community college without ever having to set foot in a classroom.

For financial aid, you should always start with FAFSA. Federal education grants are essentially free money, and federally subsidized student loans have low interest and provide you with tons of flexibility when paying them back. After that, private grants and scholarships should be where you look. Finally, if all else fails and it’s your only option, you can apply for private student loans. Private loans tend to be the worst and most expensive form of funding. So make sure you exhaust other sources first.

Is online learning right for you?

Online learning provides students with unparalleled flexibility. Most students who earn their degrees online right now are older than the traditional college age and require more flexibility to fit a degree into their already busy lives. However, with more and more degrees being offered online and the first generation to grow up with the internet hitting college age, the online option is going mainstream. How do you know if it’s the right fit? That’s not an easy question to answer, and you should ask yourself several questions before enrolling. Are you the kind of person who can learn by watching videos? Would you be comfortable taking tests online? Can you handle not having any face-to-face interaction with your professors and fellow students? Are you highly self-motivated and disciplined? While online education is a great option, it’s not ideal for all students. If you need flexibility and are comfortable with the format and technology, online education offers unprecedented flexibility. If you’re not sure online college is a good fit you might consider trying free online college courses for adults.

This feature article has been on the most affordable online colleges offering laptops.