Student Loan Options for Coding Bootcamps
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Switching careers can feel daunting. For many people, beginning a new career path involves starting from scratch -- and that often means investing a substantial amount of time and money into education and training.
The good news is that these days you don't necessarily need to pursue a two- or four-year degree to rewrite your career track. Instead, you can enroll in a coding bootcamp. Bootcamps are becoming increasingly common, and they allow students to quickly enter a new field.
Bootcamp students learn new skills through intensive training that can last anywhere from one week to six months.
Bootcamp students learn new skills through intensive training that can last anywhere from one week to six months. Online coding bootcamps are especially popular because they teach an in-demand skill set in a flexible learning environment.
Bootcamps often cost much less than traditional degree programs, with the median price coming in at $13,500 in 2020, according to data collected by BestColleges from over 620 bootcamp programs. Still, that price tag can seem intimidating since most are run by private, for-profit organizations that don't qualify for federal financial aid.
However, prospective students can still find coding bootcamp loans and other funding options to fit their financial needs. This guide will walk you through private lending opportunities and payment plans available for bootcamp participants.
Coding Bootcamp Loan Options
As bootcamps have increased in popularity, some lenders created loans specifically for students who enroll in these programs. These lenders take into account the unique financial situation of many career switchers. They factor in those considerations to offer coding bootcamp loans with interest rates that are often above federal interest rates but below traditional private lenders' rates.
Climb Credit offers loans to students who enroll in programs like bootcamps that equip learners with in-demand skills in the workplace. According to Climb, graduates who take out loans see a 70% salary increase, on average, after finishing their programs. Climb determines interest rates based on students' financial resources. For example, if a student were to take out a $10,500 coding bootcamp loan, they might repay it with an 8.4% interest rate or 11% APR financing over a 42-month repayment period.
Earnest offers loans to many different types of students, including those enrolled in bootcamps. This lender considers factors other than credit score when calculating loans and interest rates. These low-interest student loans allow learners to begin repayments while still enrolled in their program, and students can qualify for even lower rates with a co-signer. Variable interest rates start at 1.99%, while fixed rates begin at 2.98%.
Skills Fund prioritizes coding bootcamp loans, and the lender has given out nearly 10,000 loans to learners. Skills Fund offers loans to students of bootcamps like Bottega, Burlington Code Academy, Fullstack Academy, and Tech Elevator. The organization is also an active stakeholder in the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), which promotes transparent and universal standards for measuring bootcamp outcomes, and partners with CIRR member bootcamps.
Upstart offers loans to different types of borrowers, including students enrolled in bootcamps like Coding Dojo, DevLeague, and Hack Reactor. Borrowers can take out loans ranging from $1,000-$50,000. Upstart uses simple interest with a fixed interest rate to calculate monthly payments.
Other Ways to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp
Students may not be able to take out a coding bootcamp loan with a bootcamp-specific lender. Perhaps they do not meet a certain credit score requirement, or their income or savings might not reach lenders' expectations.
In this case, students can turn to other private lenders to take out a personal loan. You might consider a bank, credit union, or online lender. However, these loans often come with higher interest rates and fewer borrower protections.
Bootcamps may offer financing plans directly to their students, such as monthly installments. Some bootcamps allow learners to make these installments with no interest, while others do set interest rates. Again, make sure you can keep up with these payments. If not, you may not be able to finish your program.
It may make the most financial sense to just pay your entire fee upfront. To many, that may not be possible. But it is often the least expensive option, as you avoid paying interest on a loan. Plus, some bootcamps offer discounts to students who pay upfront. With that in mind, it might just be worth it to dig into your savings and pay the entire fee in a lump sum.
For information on how to pay for coding bootcamps with financial resources beyond loans, read our detailed guide for paying for a coding bootcamp. This guide offers a comprehensive look into other payment options, like scholarships and income share agreements.
Generally speaking, no. In most cases, private, for-profit colleges or institutions run bootcamps. This means bootcamp students do not qualify for the Pell Grant or other federal student loan options.
Yes. The companies and colleges that run bootcamps sometimes offer scholarships to students. It is most common to find these scholarships through the bootcamps themselves, although some professional or nonprofit technology organizations might offer scholarships, as well.
The amount of interest you pay on a coding bootcamp loan depends on variables like how much you borrow, interest rates, and the length of your repayment plan. Interest rates can vary significantly. For example, while Earnest offers interest rates as low as 1.99%, other lenders charge interest rates reaching 15%. Some lenders go with fixed loans, others offer variable loans, and some offer both.
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.
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