The Ultimate Guide to Coding Bootcamp Loans
Coding bootcamps are designed to be a more affordable and accessible educational pathway into tech jobs, but that doesn’t mean that many students don’t still struggle to cover tuition. Top tech schools are aware of this problem, and in response, they offer a wide range of payment methods, including scholarships, deferred payment plans, and coding bootcamp loans.
Because bootcamp students are unable to use federal funding to cover their education, taking out a loan for a coding bootcamp will likely look different than applying for loans for traditional degree programs. This article contains everything you need to know about bootcamp loans and popular bootcamp lenders. It also provides some guidance to help you choose a bootcamp payment method.
What Is a Coding Bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is a short training program that will help you gain the technical skills and hands-on experience you need to start a career in the tech industry. Many bootcamp graduates go on to become web developers, software engineers, data analysts, or UX/UI designers. On top of being more affordable and flexible than traditional degree programs, bootcamps are far more career-focused.
Coding bootcamps frequently update their curricula to include the most in-demand skills among hiring managers and are known for their extensive career services. As part of your program, you may have access to career counselors, resume workshops, job interview training, and network-building opportunities.
How Do You Pay for a Coding Bootcamp?: Coding Bootcamp Financing Options
While coding bootcamps are generally more affordable than college degrees, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a significant financial investment. According to a report by RTI International, the average cost of a full-time bootcamp in 2019 was $13,500, and prices have only increased since then.
To keep their programs accessible to as many students as possible, most tech bootcamps offer a range of payment methods. Some of the most popular coding bootcamp financing options include:
- Upfront payments
- Installment plans
- Private student loans
- Income share agreements
- Deferred tuition plans
Popular Bootcamp Loan Providers
Because using financial aid to help cover coding bootcamp costs is so common, many schools have partnered with lenders like Ascent and Climb Credit. If you are interested in taking out a coding bootcamp loan, you will likely be working with one of the companies we have detailed below.
Ascent (Formerly Skills Fund)
Ascent, previously Skills Fund, is one of the most popular bootcamp lenders. The application takes less than five minutes and you will receive a decision right away. If you are approved, Ascent will send tuition payments directly to your school. If you apply for an additional loan for living expenses, the money will be sent to you.
Ascent bootcamp loans can be used to cover tuition at top schools, including Tech Elevator, Coding Dojo, and Ironhack. Because of Ascent’s flexible loan options, you can choose to pay your loan off as soon as possible, or give your full attention to your education and begin payments after graduation.
Climb Credit also provides coding bootcamp loans to students at its partner schools. It offers fixed interest rates starting at 6.5 percent and applying will not affect your credit score. Depending on your school, you may be able to take out a loan for general living expenses.
The amount of time you have to repay your loan will depend on your chosen school, but the average loan term is 36 months. Climb Credit is partnered with many of the best coding bootcamps, including App Academy and Flatiron School.
While it is less common, you can also get a coding bootcamp loan from Upstart if you are attending one of its 17 partner schools. These include Hack Reactor, Coder Camps, Metis, and Fullstack Academy. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have a regular source of income, and meet its minimum credit requirements.
Additional Bootcamp Lenders
While the vast majority of students use one of the lenders listed above to take out a coding bootcamp loan, there are other options available. Below, you will find further information about companies that have worked with bootcamp students in the past.
- Quotanda. If you are attending a coding bootcamp in a Spanish-speaking country, Quotanda might be a lender to consider. Its partnerships include Ironhack Spain.
- Earnest. Students have historically used Earnest personal loans to attend schools like General Assembly and Fullstack Academy.
- Pave Credit. Pave, previously partnered with Hack Reactor, allows students to open a line of credit to cover bootcamp tuition costs.
Income Share Agreements
Income share agreements (ISAs) are an alternative to student loans that are very popular in the bootcamp space. Under an ISA, you will be able to attend your chosen program and graduate without making any tuition payments. In exchange, you will pay the school a fixed percentage of your future income for a set period of time.
This coding bootcamp financing method comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. While most ISA agreements cap your repayment amount at a certain number, this limit will be higher than the cost of tuition. On the other hand, ISAs encourage schools to provide students with a quality education since both parties benefit if graduates go on to land high-paying jobs.
Deferred Tuition Plans
Deferred tuition plans are similar to income share agreements because students attend their course before paying tuition. The main difference is that, under a deferred tuition plan, you will pay back the school in regular payments of a predetermined amount, regardless of your career or income status.
Most deferred tuition plans allow you to cover tuition with affordable monthly payments over the course of one to two years. Unlike with an income share agreement, the amount you end up paying each month will be settled before you even begin your course.
Coding Bootcamp Job Guarantees
It is fairly common for coding bootcamps to offer students a job guarantee. While a bootcamp job placement guarantee can take on several different forms, a common one is a deferred tuition plan where students are not required to make their scheduled payments unless they land a job within a certain period of time after graduation.
A job guarantee can imply that the school provides strong enough instruction, curricula, and career services that the vast majority of students are able to find employment after graduation. If you are choosing a school based on a job guarantee, make sure you fully understand the criteria you must meet to qualify for tuition forgiveness.
Additional Ways to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamp loans are not the only option available to prospective students overwhelmed by upfront tuition costs. Depending on your situation and chosen school, you may qualify for certain discounts and scholarships. Learn more about additional popular bootcamp payment methods below.
GI Bill Benefits
Veterans and their family members are often able to pay bootcamp tuition using GI Bill benefits. Dozens of coding schools accept this payment method, including Galvanize, Code Platoon, Codeup, Tech Elevator, and General Assembly. Many coding bootcamps also offer scholarships specifically for veterans and their families.
Some coding bootcamps, such as Coding Dojo, allow students to pay for tuition in smaller amounts throughout their course. This is similar to a deferred tuition plan in that you will be paying in fixed installments. The main difference is that the payments are due before graduation and, in most cases, come with little to no interest.
Some students who are unable to qualify for other forms of financial aid use personal loans as an alternative to private student loans. Financial lenders including Earnest and Affirm have historically worked with bootcamp students who need help covering tuition costs. Keep in mind that private student loans are generally considered a better option because they tend to come with significantly lower interest rates.
Coding Bootcamp Scholarships
One of the best forms of financial aid for coding bootcamp tuition is a scholarship. Most leading bootcamps offer a range of scholarships, including opportunities for veterans, members of underrepresented communities in tech, and financially disadvantaged students. A scholarship is better than taking out a coding bootcamp loan because you will not be responsible for paying the money back.
If you are unsure whether or not you qualify for a scholarship offered by your chosen school, it is always a good idea to reach out to a member of the admissions team for the most up-to-date information. You can also ask if there are any discounts available. Some bootcamps offer cheaper prices to students who enroll early or meet certain requirements beforehand.
Choosing a Bootcamp Payment Plan
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to identify which payment option is best for your situation. In this section, we will discuss some of the factors you should consider and questions you should ask yourself if you are trying to decide how to pay for your coding bootcamp.
Have I chosen the right school?
In most cases, the cheapest and most risk-free method of attending a coding bootcamp is to pay upfront. Remember that bootcamps range drastically in cost, from over $20,000 to less than $7,000. Make sure you research a range of schools to make sure you don’t overlook one that might serve your educational needs and fit more easily within your budget.
Do I qualify for any scholarship opportunities?
If you have determined that financial aid will be necessary for your chosen program, a good first step is to investigate scholarship or discount opportunities. If you are a veteran or a member of a traditionally underrepresented community in tech, there is a good chance your school will have scholarships available.
Am I eligible for private student loans?
Before you consider taking out a personal loan, it is a good idea to first apply for a student loan through your school’s lending partners. This is because private student loans tend to offer much lower interest rates. If your credit score is a barrier and you are unable to find a co-signer or co-borrower, you may still be able to cover your tuition with an income share agreement or deferred tuition plan.
Do I have a plan to pay back my loan?
Applying for any loan comes with a certain level of risk. That is why it is important to fully understand the terms and conditions before you make any decisions. What will your interest rate be, and how long will you have to pay off your loan? When will the payments start and how will interest be calculated?
At this point, it is also a good idea to research some job titles that will be available to you after completing your bootcamp. You can often find location-specific salary information on websites like PayScale and Glassdoor that can help you with your financial planning.
Should I Take Out a Coding Bootcamp Loan?
If you are confident that your chosen school will help you launch a successful tech career, but you are unable to afford upfront tuition, coding bootcamp loans are a strong option to consider. Holding a four-year degree is no longer a requirement for the majority of entry-level tech jobs, even at some of the biggest names in the industry.
Coding bootcamp graduates can go on to land high-paying jobs at companies like Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, and Google. A well-respected bootcamp on your resume, along with the career services and networking assistance these schools provide, can go a long way toward helping you break into the tech industry.
Coding Bootcamp Loans FAQ
No, you cannot use FAFSA to pay for a coding bootcamp. Because the vast majority of coding bootcamps are not regionally or nationally accredited, students do not qualify for federal student loans or federal grants.
If paying your bills while you complete your bootcamp program is a concern, you may want to look into part-time programs with flexible scheduling options. You could enroll in primarily weekend or evening courses without quitting your day job. Alternatively, many coding bootcamp loan providers offer additional funds for living expenses.
If you have exhausted all your options, including income share agreements, deferred tuition plans, and private loans, you could consider crowdfunding or employer sponsorships to help cover your coding bootcamp tuition. You could also look into free bootcamp programs and courses.
Whether or not you qualify for student loans will depend on the lender and your financial history. Luckily, most bootcamp lenders allow you to apply multiple times without your credit score being affected. If you are not eligible for a loan, you could try applying again with a co-signer.