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By Staff Writer

Published on August 2, 2021

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A traditional college degree program isn't for everyone. A four-year degree can be expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are other paths you can take to get the technical training necessary to enter the workforce with in-demand skills. One of these options is to take a coding bootcamp.

Coding bootcamps let students with minimal or no experience in tech quickly develop computer programming knowledge, with most programs lasting 3-6 months. Additionally, many bootcamps are offered online with part-time schedules, providing a convenient learning environment for working professionals.

However, coding bootcamps still charge a considerable amount for tuition — usually around $13,500, according to data collected by BestColleges from over 130 bootcamps. Fortunately, many bootcamps have flexible payment options that require little or no money upfront. This price is also much lower than the tuition for a four-year degree program, which routinely costs over $50,000.

Coding bootcamps charge a considerable amount for tuition — usually around $13,500.

Bootcamps can also lead to lucrative careers, which can make the tuition worth the investment. Graduates often become web developers, who earned a median annual salary of $73,760 in 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They can also pursue roles as software developers, who earned a median salary of $107,510 that same year.

Though coding bootcamps typically offer cheaper tuition than a four-year college degree program, students cannot access federal financial aid for coding bootcamps. With this in mind, how can you pay for a coding bootcamp? Continue reading to learn more about coding bootcamp financial aid.

Is There Federal Financial Aid for Coding Bootcamps?

When considering a coding bootcamp, you cannot rely on a program's accreditation status to vet the bootcamp's quality. Unlike traditional colleges, bootcamps do not hold regional or national accreditation.

As a relatively new industry, coding bootcamps remain largely unregulated. Without accreditation, the burden of verifying a bootcamp's quality falls largely on the student. Another drawback of bootcamps' unaccredited status is that students cannot take advantage of federal financial aid for coding bootcamps, such as federal grants and loans.

If you cannot afford to pay your tuition upfront, many coding bootcamps offer financial aid through private loans and scholarships. Students can also participate in an income share agreement or deferred tuition plan and make payments only after they graduate and secure a tech job.

Alternate Financial Assistance Options

Federal financial aid for coding bootcamps does not exist, but that does not mean that students have to pay their tuition upfront. Some bootcamp providers work with lenders to offer loans specifically designed for bootcamp students. These loans typically offer lower interest rates than most other private loans. Popular bootcamp loan providers include Skills Fund, Upstart, and Climb Credit.

Financing options also include scholarships. Many bootcamps offer scholarships that pay for part of the cost of tuition, and some scholarships even cover the entire cost of tuition. Many bootcamp scholarships specifically target veterans and those underrepresented in the tech industry, including women and people of color.

Bootcamps usually offer payment plans, where students can pay their tuition over the course of the bootcamp in monthly installments, often with no interest.

Some bootcamps allow students to defer the cost of tuition until after they graduate and find a job in the tech industry. Once a bootcamp graduate finds a job — often one that pays more than a set minimum threshold, typically between $40,000 and $60,000 — they pay back a set tuition amount over a fixed period of time (usually 2-4 years). Sometimes students are also asked to pay a small deposit upfront.

There are often job search requirements for students participating in a deferred tuition plan, so be sure to read the fine print carefully before signing any agreement.

Income share agreements are similar to deferred tuition plans, with one important difference. With an income share agreement, students pay no upfront cost (or only a small deposit). They then make monthly payments of a set percentage of their salary once they graduate and find a tech job, often between 10-25%.

Graduates usually make these payments for 2-4 years, and there is often a minimum salary threshold a student must meet before they are required to pay. There may be other conditions that come with an income share agreement, as well. For example, bootcamps may require students to accept their first job offer and begin making payments immediately. With this payment option, a bootcamp graduate may end up paying considerably more in the long run than the advertised tuition cost.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid for Coding Bootcamps

How much do coding bootcamps cost?

The average cost of an intensive coding bootcamp is around $13,500, according to data collected by BestColleges from over 130 bootcamps. However, prices range from just a couple thousand dollars to over $30,000, depending on the bootcamp.

Can I start a bootcamp with no money down?

Yes. Many coding bootcamps attract working professionals with flexible payment options that do not require down payments (or only require a small down payment). Bootcamps often lessen the financial barrier to accessing an education by letting students learn for free and repay tuition only after they find a well-paying job in the tech industry.

Editor's Note: This article contains general information and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a professional advisor before making decisions about financial issues.