loaner computer
What do you do if your laptop breaks or gets stolen? You might want to check if your university is among those that offer loaner computer programmes for students. Source: Philippe Lopez/AFP

Laptops have become an indispensable technology for just about any student and many colleges and universities in the US offer loaner computer schemes for students without laptops.

Laptops are used for note-taking, completing assignments, research, accessing online databases and resources, and communicating with friends, classmates and faculty.

So, what do you do if your laptop breaks, or worse, gets stolen? With a pandemic still ravaging, students may be banned from entering their university’s computer lab or computers in libraries.

But don’t panic. You might want to check if your university is among those that offer loaner computer programmes for students.

computer loaner

Check with your respective university about laptop schemes for students. Source: Mohammed Huwais/AFP

Colleges with loaner computer programmes

Different institutions may have other names for this programme, but you may be able to borrow a laptop through loaner computer programmes. 

Under this scheme, students can borrow a laptop on a short-term basis — which could vary from a day to a week — from the university at no cost. 

Some colleges or universities may require students to provide proof that their laptop is being repaired or stolen (such as a receipt or a police report).

For instance, under its Laptop Loaner Programme, The City University of New York allows students to borrow laptops for use on-campus. 

“Circumstances that generally warrant at-home use are impromptu school closures (i.e., natural disasters, threats to public/health/safety) or accessibility needs. Observation of federal holidays and scheduled term breaks do not qualify,” notes the university.

Be sure to return the laptop within the deadline or you will be slapped with a fine or charged for laptops that are lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair.

Some colleges and universities offer full-time students laptops that only need to be returned upon completion of their studies. Depending on the institution, laptops may only be offered to in-state students rather than out-of-state or international students. Online-only students may also not be considered, so be sure to check the requirements.

Students at Northwest Missouri State University notes that full-time undergraduate and graduate students will receive a fully loaded laptop to use while studying at Northwest or Northwest-Kansas City. 

This means students won’t need to splurge on a laptop. The laptop offered comes fully loaded with all the software required to be a successful student at the institution. 

Dakota State University provides full-time freshmen with a new laptop in the fall. It includes the latest Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, a 2-in-1 Laptop configured specifically for DSU academic programmes.