How to Pay for Coding Bootcamp: The Definitive Guide
Coding bootcamps are a great alternative for people looking for a career change in the technology industry who don’t want to return to a traditional college education. Bootcamps offer a lower cost and a faster turnaround than a degree. Many coding bootcamps also include robust career services that can help you access lucrative careers quickly.
Though coding bootcamps may be less expensive than a bachelor’s degree program, some of them may be too much to afford upfront. Thankfully, many bootcamps offer payment plans and other funding options, no matter your credit score. Read below to learn how to pay for a coding bootcamp.
What Is a Coding Bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps are educational institutions designed to help their attendees break into the tech industry. There’s a bootcamp for just about any tech field that you may want to enter. These include web development bootcamps, data science bootcamps, and app development bootcamps. You can also find specialized courses.
Coding bootcamps are a response to the general demands of the tech industry, which needs trained professionals quickly. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the software development job market to grow by 22 percent by 2029. The increased demand for software developers means an increase in bootcamp value.
Bootcamps do have their downsides. Because of their shorter schedules, bootcamps may not cover the information you need in your field of study as deeply as a degree program. You may need to supplement your education with more study and training on your own. Bootcamps still offer many attractive benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Attending a Coding Bootcamp?
Bootcamps offer a lower cost, quicker completion time, and stronger career services than degree programs. Many bootcamps also provide expert mentoring and code reviews. They also often have flexible scheduling, which can help you make a career change on your schedule.
The average cost of a bachelor’s degree is about $24,623 per year, according to 2019 data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). Coding bootcamps offer a full education with career benefits for much more affordable prices. For example, Galvanize offers a data science bootcamp for just $17,980. It also has many payment options.
Quicker Completion Time
We’ve already discussed the fact that a bachelor’s degree takes an average of four years to complete. Even an associate degree takes around two years to complete. Many bootcamps only take a few months, which means you can start your career in tech more quickly.
Traditional educators prepare students to enter the job market, but many coding bootcamps take it a step further. Several bootcamps provide students with career coaches. Bootcamps can also place students into their hiring network. Some bootcamps even have an internship component where students can earn on-the-job experience.
Many coding bootcamps pair their students with professional mentors that provide industry context and advice. These mentors are usually working programmers that keep their jobs while offering advice to up-and-coming coders. Bootcamps will also often employ professional code reviewers to ensure your code meets industry standards.
Almost every coding bootcamp offers part-time, full-time, immersive, and self-paced programs. If you’re looking to make a quick change and can support yourself, the immersive courses will help with that. If you still have to work, or if you’re already in the tech industry, flexible courses allow a bit more freedom and usually a slower pace.
Coding Bootcamp vs College Degree
Coding bootcamps may have a faster turnaround at a lower cost, but they also have a key drawback. Because many coding bootcamps aren’t accredited, they may not hold as much prestige with potential employers as a university degree. The lack of accreditation also affects their eligibility for certain forms of federal financial aid.
College degrees, on the other hand, may set you up for a longer career in the industry. Many employers still equate these degrees with quality of education, so you may have to get a college degree if you want to advance your career after getting started in the tech industry.
Different degrees will prepare you for different roles. Associate degrees are good for entry-level positions, bachelor’s degrees for advancing your career, and master’s degrees will usually unlock the highest-level positions.
How Much Is a Coding Bootcamp?
The median cost of a full-time coding bootcamp in 2017 was $13,500, according to the Research Triangle Institute (RIT). This cost takes both online and in-person programs into account. The cost also varies depending on your program. RIT also reports that UX/UI design is generally the least expensive and data science is the most.
As mentioned above, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree is $24,623 per year. On the surface, this cost is significantly higher. However, if you can afford both the time and cost, a degree is an investment in future high salaries. According to the NCES, people with bachelor’s degrees have an easier time finding jobs.
Neither of these costs accounts for expenses like commuting, utilities, and more that you’ll need to properly complete each program. Of course, there are no guarantees of success, regardless of the price you pay for your education. Bootcamps are already less expensive, and many of them boost their appeal by offering great financing options.
Coding Bootcamp Financing
There are a few different ways to finance coding bootcamps. Some of these financing methods are very common and available at the majority of bootcamps. Others are rarer and may be offered by either bigger bootcamps or those that offer more specialized programs.
Bootcamp financing options include scholarships, grants, deferred tuition programs, income share agreements (ISAs), and private loans. There are also some federal student loans and grants that can help you. Bootcamps generally have a page dedicated to tuition and financing that explains the payment options.
Coding Bootcamp Scholarships
Coding bootcamps offer scholarships based on student needs or underrepresented groups in tech. Scholarships can pay for your bootcamp education in full, or they can pay for them partially. You can often combine partial scholarships with other financing options as well.
Need and identity-based scholarships help increase access to the tech industry for people regardless of their income, which makes the tech revolution more accessible for everyone. Many bootcamps more offer scholarships to women, non-binary students, and people of color.
These scholarships can make a big difference in a student’s ability to improve their career outlook. Because of the big impact they can have on your life, it’s good to apply for scholarships that you fit the criteria for, even if you think you may not get them.
Coding Bootcamp Grants
Grants are similar to scholarships because neither are paid back by the student. They do differ slightly in terms of funding and criteria. Several free bootcamps are funded by wealthy benefactors or the government. Students at these bootcamps have no payment obligations, but the schools have a more rigorous application process.
Bootcamps can also partner with companies to offer students a tuition discount for mentioning their names during the application process. Much like scholarships, grants can also be automatically given based on a student’s needs.
Deferred Tuition Programs
Deferred tuition programs allow students to split up their payments in a few different ways. Generally, students pay a portion of the bootcamp’s tuition upfront to secure their spot and then pay in installments. Some programs even allow students to fully defer their tuition until they graduate and find a job above a certain salary.
Students commit to paying until they’ve covered the cost of tuition. This method is great for students who may be working and saving up money during their time in the bootcamp because it takes off some of the financial pressure.
Income Sharing Agreements
Income sharing agreements (ISAs) are a form of deferred tuition where students pledge to pay a percentage of their income after they find a qualifying job. This payment structure differs from a traditional deferred tuition structure because the payments are indexed to a student’s income instead of fixed ahead of time.
This payment structure ensures that bootcamps provide high educational quality to their graduates. Because grads have to find a job to pay their tuition, bootcamps have to teach the most in-demand tools and education. If students don’t get hired, bootcamps don’t get paid.
Deferred Tuition vs ISA
Students under a traditional deferred tuition structure make fixed payments that aren’t tied to a percentage of their income. Graduates know exactly how much they’ll be paying once they land a qualifying job. One drawback is that students may find that they don’t like the fixed payment structure and would prefer a bit more flexibility.
ISAs are tied to a percentage of a student’s income, and students also start paying after they find a job. Because ISAs are tied to a student’s income, students who land jobs with higher salaries can pay faster. Both deferred tuition and ISA options are usually forgiven if bootcamp students aren’t able to find a job after a certain period post-graduation.
Government Programs to Finance Coding Bootcamps
Your local, state, and federal governments have several plans in place to help provide federal loans. In addition to workforce development grants that you may be able to use in your state, a few bootcamps can now offer Pell Grants and federal student loans through the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) program.
Be sure to check your city and state for smaller bootcamps that are fully funded through grants as well. Some of these programs may have more stringent eligibility requirements, but if you’re admitted you’ll be able to attend without cost. There’s also a notable payment option that many bootcamps extend to military veterans.
The GI Bill for Coding Bootcamp
The US government first established the GI Bill after World War II to give veteran students the chance to attend college after serving in the war. In 2017, the government began a five-year pilot program to test the GI Bill for nontraditional education paths.
Several coding bootcamps accept the GI Bill to fully cover the cost of tuition and even some living expenses for student veterans. The GI Bill doesn’t apply equally to each school, so be sure to check your chosen bootcamp’s website to know exactly how much of the cost the program covers.
Taking Out a Private Loan to Pay For a Coding Bootcamp
Private loans offer a path to education for people who trust their future income to rise enough to cover their current education costs. Many private loans have a grace period where bootcamp graduates don’t have to make any payments so that they have time to find their footing in the industry.
It’s important to choose a loan that has favorable terms, though your eligibility for various loans may affect your options. Loans can be a good option if you feel confident in your ability to pay them back. There are a few lenders that you’ll most likely encounter when looking at bootcamp loan options.
Finding a Private Lender to Finance Your Coding Bootcamp
Ascent, Climb Credit, and Skills Fund are three of the most common bootcamp private lenders. These companies all have different eligibility requirements and private student loan terms, so it’s important to look at the loan’s features closely. You should also have a strong credit history, as most loan providers perform credit checks.
Some of the most important features to look out for are the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR), length of term, and the amount that the loan provides. Some lenders will only cover your tuition, while others will cover your tuition along with living expenses. Look for loans for coding bootcamps that have reasonable terms and interest rates that suit you.
Taking Advantage of Employer Benefits
Many employers offer funding for employees to upskill at coding bootcamps. In the eyes of these companies, employees can add more value with the training they receive. These employers are more than happy to partner with a bootcamp to give their employees a chance to strengthen their skillsets.
If you have access to employer sponsorships, usually the human resources department can provide more information. Many coding bootcamps also have bulk discount pricing plans available on their sites. When you’re investigating a coding bootcamp, consider the options your employer may already have in place.
If your employer doesn’t already have a structure set up for funding bootcamps for students, consider making your own presentation to your supervisor about the benefits. You may be surprised at how open your employer may be to the idea.
Crowdfunding to Finance Your Bootcamp Education
Though you may not think that others would be interested in helping you pay for a bootcamp, crowdfunding can be a great option. Asking friends and family to help you pay for your tuition will get you closer to building a future in tech. You can even promise to pay them back once you’ve landed a job. This is a good choice for low-income students.
Choosing How to Pay for Your Coding Bootcamp
Now that we’ve discussed your payment options, it’s time to choose which is right for you. It’s important to consider your financial history and more when deciding. You also need to think about your future after graduation and which option will provide the lowest burden. You should also think about your current job and your eligibility for offers and incentives.
Consider Your Financial History
If you’ve got a poor credit score or no credit score to speak of, you may have a harder time securing a personal loan. Bootcamp loans are a great option if you do end up being eligible for them. If you don’t think that you’d pass a credit check, it’s best to seek a more accessible option.
Consider Your Financial Future
Unless you end up qualifying for a grant or scholarship, your tuition plan might have you making monthly payments until it’s satisfied. Study the projected financial outcomes of your field of study in the city where you want to live, because it’s up to you to ensure that the monthly payments will be manageable.
Think About Your Job Situation
If you are already employed, then consider asking your company to pay for the coding bootcamp. If you aren’t employed, you may need to find a payment plan that takes into account how much more money you’ll be making after graduation. You also may need a payment option that helps you pay for your living expenses.
Think About Your Special Offer Eligibility
People whose race or gender are historically underrepresented in tech often get discounts or scholarships from bootcamps. Some bootcamps also offer special scholarships for career changers and military veterans. Consider how you can take advantage of these special opportunities when trying to pick a financing option.
Look For Bootcamp Incentives
If you choose to pay your tuition upfront or through a deferred tuition plan, you may be able to take advantage of a bootcamp’s tuition reimbursement program. If you’re unable to find a job within a certain time after graduation, the bootcamp will pay back your tuition. This is similar to the structure of income share agreements.
Paying For Your Coding Bootcamp
There are several good options for covering the cost of your coding bootcamp. The choice may be overwhelming, but take the time to look for affordable bootcamps with flexible tuition options. Though your education is the most important factor at any school, saving money can help you truly excel.