Most American households, even those with lower incomes, are using the Internet, utilizing broadband services, and owning smartphones at a rapid rate three decades since the Internet was invented. However, despite substantial tech adoption, many low-income families still lack computer access. Approximately 43% of families with less than $30,000 median income still do not own a laptop, computer, or desktop.
Online access is a basic necessity nowadays since it facilitates work, education, and socialization. As such, in this article, we’ll go over a few ways to get cheap computers for low-income families. Read on to learn more.
5 Things You Need To Know About Free Computers
You should remember some things when trying to qualify for free computers as a low-income household. These include the following:
- You may be eligible for affordable connectivity programs that pay $5 monthly to cover Internet fees if you receive free computer programs.
- Being a recipient of free computers may affect your eligibility for food assistance programs, including food stamps.
- Several free computer programs are available, each with its own criteria and eligibility requirements. Consider applying to another low-income computer assistance program if one does not meet your needs. It is also easier to qualify for free computer programs administered by local state agencies than those operated by the federal government.
- Some programs also provide free iPads to children with special needs.
- Free computer units provided by these programs may vary depending on availability and your current financial situation.
Free Low Income Computer Programs
Many organizations offer cheap computers to low-income families, seniors, and disabled individuals. However, your median household income should not exceed a predetermined level to qualify for most programs.
Additionally, you must submit all necessary documents detailing your need for a personal computer. Here is a list of free computer programs for low-income families that you should check out:
Computers With Causes
Computer with Causes is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps low-income families and public schools with limited online access by providing free computers and desktops. Applying for free computer devices under Computer With Causes is relatively easy. All you need to do is visit their website, provide all the necessary information and documents, and click submit.
PCs for People
Low-income households with gross annual income below 200% of the federal poverty level may receive free personal computers from PCs for People. They also provide computer assistance services to beneficiaries of income-based assistance programs administered by the federal government, including food stamps and Medicaid recipients.
The On It Foundation (K-12 students only)
The On It Foundation offers free computers, training modules, and Internet services to low-income households with children in their K-12. As the name suggests, the organization’s mission is to provide “Opportunities Necessary to Increase Technology.” Moreover, the On It Foundation also provides scholarship grants and holds academic building events.
Cheap Computers For Sale
Other organizations provide cheap computers for low-income families who do not qualify for free computers. Even financially struggling households can afford these devices due to their lower prices.
Comcast (Internet Essentials required)
You may be eligible to buy affordable computers and laptops through Comcast’s low-cost Internet assistance program. This program’s desktop, PCs, and laptops meet standard specifications (12″ to 17″ screens and powerful processors), making them suitable for use in school or work.
Computers for the Blind (Visual impairment)
Those with visual impairments can apply for cheap computers from Computers for the Blind; laptops cost $185, and desktops are $130.
Other Options To Get Cheap Computers
Other options are still available for low-income households who do not qualify for cheap or free computer programs. Below are some ways to save money when purchasing a personal computer or laptop.
Find refurbished and off-lease items.
Because they have already been used or damaged, refurbished and off-lease items are typically sold at a discount. Purchasing reconditioned or secondhand laptops and computers can save you hundreds of dollars. However, ensure that the device you purchase is still operational and requires minimal repair.
Check for government surplus.
Local stores that sell government surplus items are an excellent place to find pre-owned but fully functional computers. Government surplus stores usually sell desktop computers or laptops in great condition and at affordable prices. You may even buy a laptop for only $50 or less.
Wait for Black Friday or another major discount.
You can get a great deal on a new PC during major sales events like Prime Day, Black Friday, and back-to-school shopping seasons. You should also look out for Black Friday “lightning deals” or “doorbusters” since these deals can result in major price discounts.
Nowadays, having access to a laptop or computer is crucial, especially for students. Providing low-income families with reliable laptops, desktop computers, and even tablets is the purpose of computer assisted programs.
If you require educational assistance, check out this article from Help Choices on scholarships and grants for children of disabled parents.