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How to Pay for Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps have skyrocketed in popularity due to their relative affordability compared to four-year colleges. But even though coding bootcamps are much less expensive than traditional degree programs, they’re not exactly cheap either. According to Course Report, the average cost of full-time coding bootcamps is over $13,000. 

Most coding bootcamps are run by private companies, which means participants are ineligible for federal student aid. That includes Pell Grants and federal student loans. Fortunately, there are other ways to manage the cost of your coding certificate. Keep reading to learn how to pay for coding bootcamps. 

See also: Are coding bootcamps worth it? 

1. Apply for scholarships 

As bootcamps have risen in popularity, so have the number of scholarships that help students pay for them. Many bootcamp scholarships are designed to help specific groups such as women, underrepresented students, military veterans, and those affected by financial hardship. Some programs even offer full-tuition scholarships. To get started on your search, check out our list of top coding bootcamp scholarships. You can also check out this list of coding scholarships from Course Report. 

Don’t miss: Computer science major overview

2. Consider an income share agreement

Some bootcamps offer income share agreements (ISAs), which are a low-risk way to cover the cost of tuition. ISAs pay for students’ tuition upfront in exchange for a percentage of their future income. The great thing about ISAs is that students only need to pay back their tuition if they get a job and make a certain amount of money. As a result, it’s in the best interest of the educational institution offering the ISA to help their students find a solid job after graduation. 

To give you an example, General Assembly is a popular bootcamp that offers an income share agreement called Catalyst. Through Catalyst, students start making payments only after they’ve landed a job making $40,000 or more. At that point, graduates pay back 10% percent of their monthly income over 48 months.

The downside to ISAs is that you can end up paying more than you would have originally. Under the Catalyst ISA, for instance, students can pay up to 1.5x their original tuition. The higher your starting salary, the more you’ll have to pay. Catalyst caps the repayment at 1.5x the original amount, but other ISAs have higher caps or no caps at all. Check out our guide on income share agreements to learn more about this unique financing option. 

3. Consider a deferred tuition plan 

Deferred tuition plans are very similar to ISAs in that they don’t require students to pay their tuition upfront. Instead, students repay their tuition in monthly installments only after they graduate and find a job. The key difference is that unlike ISAs, deferred tuition plans provide a fixed dollar amount that must be repaid in the future. Meanwhile, ISAs require a percentage of your future income. That means the amount of your future payments will depend on your starting salary. Some find deferred tuition plans to be the safer bet since you know from the outset exactly how much you’ll be paying. 

4. Attend a program with a job guarantee

Some bootcamps offer job guarantees, meaning they will refund your tuition if you can’t find a job after graduation. For instance, Bloc is an online coding bootcamp that offers a tuition reimbursement guarantee. The guarantee states that graduates who can’t find a job paying at least $60,000 within 6 months of graduation are eligible for a full tuition refund. 

Job guarantees are a great way to minimize the risk involved in paying for your education. However, it’s important to read and understand the fine print. Job guarantees usually have extensive stipulations, including a minimum number of job applications per week and no declined job offers. Check out this guide from Course Report to learn more about coding bootcamp job guarantees.  

5. Use GI Bill funds

The GI Bill offers up to 36 months of college or career training for qualifying veterans. 

That means veterans can use their GI benefits to pay for tuition at approved coding bootcamps. Not all coding bootcamps accept GI Bill funds, so use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to search for bootcamps that qualify. You can also check out our guide on the GI Bill to learn more about this financing option for veterans. 

Related: Does the GI Bill pay for coding bootcamps?

6. Take out a loan 

Because coding bootcamps are not overseen by the government, students are not eligible for federal student loans. However, there are many private loan options. Many private lenders offer coding bootcamp loans, including Affirm, Ascent Funding, Upstart, Earnest, and Climb Credit. 

Some lenders, such as Ascent Funding and Climb Credit, even partner directly with coding bootcamps to offer loans. Check with your bootcamp to see if they have a direct partnership with a lending platform. These partnerships often make the student loan process easier to navigate, and can lead to loans that are fairer and more flexible. 

See also: Search, compare, and apply for private student loans 

7. Get sponsored by your employer

If you’re already employed but you want to improve your coding skills, your employer may be able to help. Some employers pay for their workers to take skills development courses, which may include coding bootcamps. Check with your employer and see if they’d be willing to sponsor some or all of your tuition. 

Related: All about tuition reimbursement

8. Consider crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a great option if you’re having trouble coming up with funding on your own. If you’re unfamiliar with crowdfunding, the concept is simple – it allows individuals to raise funds for a cause (such as education) through a large group of people online. Check out crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and GoFundMe if you’re interested in this option.

Final thoughts 

As you search for a bootcamp to attend, be sure to consider the return on investment (ROI). Before committing to the price of a bootcamp, research the program’s graduation rates and job placement rates to see if you’re making a sound investment. A good place to start is the  Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, which tracks this information for a variety of coding bootcamps. 

Also see: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool