How to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps can offer a big return on your investment. These short, intense, career-focused training programs often lead to employment in the tech industry within six months of graduation. In fact, some bootcamps are so sure of their students' success in the job market that they offer tuition reimbursement if graduates do not land a job within a certain time frame. Many graduates of the best coding bootcamps have gone on to find jobs at companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Since coding bootcamps typically last only 3-6 months, they are significantly cheaper than traditional two- or four-year degree programs. However, the price of a coding bootcamp can still be quite steep, often ranging between $10,000 and $15,000.
Fortunately, prospective bootcamp students can take advantage of a variety of tuition repayment options to lessen the financial burden of paying for a bootcamp. Many bootcamps, for instance, do not require students to pay any money until after they graduate and get a coding job, making bootcamps a low-risk way to learn the skills necessary for a career in the tech industry.
This guide covers how to pay for a coding bootcamp, including using deferred tuition plans, income share agreements (ISAs), loans, scholarships, and GI Bill® benefits.
Find the Right Bootcamp For You
Coding Bootcamp Payment Options
Coding bootcamps attract a variety of prospective students, including college graduates, working professionals, and individuals just out of high school or the military. One reason that coding bootcamps are so popular is the high salaries earned by many information technology professionals. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $86,550 in 2019.
Convenient and low-risk bootcamp payment methods make tech training attainable to more students from all backgrounds. Keep reading to find out how to pay for a coding bootcamp.
Upfront Payment and Payment Plans
The most straightforward way to pay for a bootcamp is by paying one lump sum upfront. This is a great option if you can afford it, as you avoid paying any interest that may accrue with other payment options. Some bootcamps also offer discounts for those who pay upfront, reducing the overall cost of the bootcamp.
Many bootcamps also offer payment plans to students. Bootcamp participants may pay in monthly installments or in a few larger installments throughout the course of the bootcamp. These payment plans are often offered interest free, making them a cheaper option than a loan if you can keep up with the payments.
Income Share Agreements
Taking advantage of an income share agreement is an increasingly popular way for students to join a coding bootcamp without paying any money -- or paying very little money -- upfront. ISAs let graduates repay their tuition after they get a job by paying a set percentage of their salary over a predetermined duration of time. Graduates typically pay 8-25% of their salary over 1-4 years.
ISA options vary by bootcamp provider. Some bootcamps may ask for a small deposit upfront, while others do not require any money down. Sometimes, ISAs require students to take their first job offer or find employment within a set time frame. There is often a minimum salary threshold that must be met before the agreement kicks in, as well. Because ISAs remain unregulated, prospective bootcamp students need to read the fine print carefully.
A popular bootcamp that offers income share agreements is The Tech Academy.
Deferred tuition payment plans are similar to ISAs in that they allow prospective bootcamp participants to start learning with little or no money down and pay back their tuition only after they get a job. However, deferred tuition plans differ in that students pay a fixed amount of money over a set period of time once employed, instead of a percentage of their salary.
The interest rates that come with deferred tuition payment plans may mean students end up paying more than those who pay in full upfront. However, this is sometimes a better option than an ISA since the tuition amount is fixed in advance.
Bootcamp providers with deferred tuition plans include App Academy and Springboard.
Unlike learners enrolled in an accredited college or university degree program, students attending coding bootcamps do not qualify for federal financial aid. To help make ends meet, some loan providers offer loans specifically for bootcamp students. These loans usually have better rates than typical personal loans. Eligible students must have good credit to apply for loans, or have a cosigner. Read more about specific bootcamp loan provider.
Coding bootcamp students can apply for a loan through Climb. The application takes about five minutes to complete. Climb only offers credit to students attending approved bootcamps that meet Climb's curriculum and graduation outcome standards, such as General Assembly. Climb interest rates begin at 6.99% and APRs vary from 0-23%, mostly falling below 19%.
Skills Fund offers loans to students attending partner coding bootcamps, such as Galvanize and Thinkful. Funding varies, with some loans covering only tuition and some covering both tuition and the cost of living. Students can pick from interest-only loans, immediate repayment loans, deferred repayment loans, and deferred tuition loans.
Upstart provides loans to students enrolled in coding programs at 17 eligible bootcamp providers. Qualified bootcamps include Fullstack Academy, Coding Dojo, and DevLeague. Applicants must live in the U.S. and be at least 18 years old to apply for a loan. Students in West Virginia or Iowa cannot apply. Candidates must also meet credit and job requirements.
The GI Bill provides financial assistance for education and career training for veterans and their family members. While GI Bill benefits are often used to pay for traditional degree programs, some bootcamps do accept GI Bill benefits as a method of tuition payment. Some bootcamps who accept this payment option may not mention it on their website. Therefore, you should contact the bootcamp directly to inquire about this payment option if it is applicable to you.
As bootcamps do not go through an accreditation process the way that most universities and colleges do, if you are hoping to pay for a bootcamp with GI Bill benefits be sure to confirm your program's eligibility with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Scholarships and Fellowships
Students enrolled in coding bootcamps can also see if they qualify for scholarships and fellowships. Although fewer scholarships are available for bootcamps than for traditional degree programs, some bootcamps do offer scholarships -- especially to members of groups that are underrepresented in the tech industry. Awards typically vary from $500-$5,000.
For example, Women Who Code Portland offers two $5,000 scholarships to female students attending Alchemy Code Lab. Additionally, Bloc gives veterans a scholarship worth up to 25% of their bootcamp tuition.
Funding opportunities also include fellowships that help students on the basis of need and cover the full cost of tuition. However, these funding options are more rare.
Bootcamps often feature tuition guarantees, also called money-back guarantees or job guarantees. Tuition guarantees provide students with a full or partial refund for their tuition if they do not get a tech job within a set period of time after graduation, usually 6-9 months.
Some bootcamps may require students to work with career coaches and accept any qualifying job offer they receive. Tuition guarantees are sometimes offered along with an income share agreement or a deferred tuition plan. Bootcamp providers that offer tuition guarantees include Springboard, Momentum, and Designlab.
Most coding bootcamps offer a variety of payment options for prospective students. While some bootcamps require participants to pay upfront, there are many that allow students to get started without any money down, removing some financial barriers to access. Be sure to carefully study the repayment terms of any payment option you choose. To learn more about how bootcamps work and how to choose the best bootcamp for you, read our Ultimate Guide to Coding Bootcamps.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/index.asp.
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.