You’re interested in becoming a software engineer. You’re committed to changing your career. Congrats! You’ve already made some difficult decisions and have the mindset to succeed.
But there’s still one big question left to answer: How do you pay for a coding bootcamp?
Student loan debt is a concern for the 42.9 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.44 trillion in federal financial aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, private student loan debt is a reported $119.3 billion.
Returning to college and spending several years learning a new skill might be unreasonable for many people. Bootcamps help bridge that gap by offering a more efficient way to learn new skills or change careers.
But even if you want to change your career, you might be thinking you’re unable to afford a bootcamp.
The average cost of a coding bootcamp in 2018 was $11,900. That’s a serious upfront investment that might not be reasonable for many students. Some coding bootcamps offer direct monthly payment options without having to go through a financing partner.
Can you get federal loans for coding bootcamps?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step for most students entering college. Eligible students can complete the FAFSA to obtain federal financial aid to attend an accredited university or college. There are certain basic eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet to qualify for financial aid. Once you apply, you can obtain federal aid in the form of grants, loans, or work-study programs.
At this time you can’t use federal loans for coding bootcamps.
Sallie Mae also isn’t an option with bootcamps. They do offer loans for certificate granting trade schools, such as culinary schools, but not for coding bootcamps.
However, there’s a recently launched government program offering coding bootcamp loans.
In 2016, the Office of Educational Technology announced the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) pilot program. EQUIP lets students use federal financial aid for non-traditional educational providers, including coding bootcamps and online courses. These non-traditional providers have partnered with accredited universities and a quality assurance entity to offer financial aid to low-income students.
EQUIP launched with eight partnerships, including one with Flatiron School, and each program needs to be approved by the Department of Education (DOE). To date, only one program has been approved and is active. As of May 2019, the remaining schools are currently awaiting DOE approval.
No timeline has been announced for further approvals. For now, you still can’t use FAFSA to apply for a federal loan for coding bootcamps.
Good news: Coding bootcamps are eligible to accept the GI Bill
Bad news: Not all coding bootcamps accept the GI Bill
If you’re a veteran, many coding bootcamps are eligible to accept the GI Bill. A full list of eligible bootcamps can be found here.
While federal financial aid for coding bootcamps is pending, there are private and personal loan options available to prospective students.
Coding bootcamps are a great alternative for anyone who wants to learn new skills or change careers without having to return to college. There’s a reason bootcamps have seen a 9X growth since 2013, according to Course Report. But, bootcamps are still an investment with an average tuition cost of $11,900.
With the need for financing options, private lenders tailored for coding bootcamps have emerged to support students. Here’s a breakdown of the top private lenders and their financing options.
Personal loans are another way to pay for a coding bootcamp. From private lenders to your current financial institution, there are many ways to obtain a loan. We recommend reviewing each lender to determine interest rates and eligibility requirements. Many lenders have a monthly payment calculator to help you understand the loan offer.
Coding bootcamp scholarships in 2019
Coding bootcamps offer full and partial scholarships based on several factors in 2019. These reasons vary by bootcamp, so you should see what’s available at the bootcamps you’re interested in.
Some coding bootcamps offer scholarships alongside the new launch of new courses. There are also scholarships for underrepresented groups and scholarships for women. Many coding bootcamps also have dedicated scholarships for the military community.
Bootcamps can also offer payment programs to help pay for tuition. An Income Share Agreement (ISA) and deferred tuition are two of the more popular options available to prospective students. Bootcamps can also offer fellowships or grants to help pay for the cost of the bootcamp.
Income Share Agreements
ISAs are a type of deferred payment. Eligibility requirements include being a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident aged 18 or older. Bootcamps offer an ISA as another financing option.
ISAs are different from private loans because there’s a set interest cap and max number of payments.
Deferred tuition is another financing option provided by coding bootcamps. Unlike ISAs, students only pay the tuition cost after graduation. There are no additional fees, like the 1.5x tuition cap found in ISAs. Students agree to a monthly payment amount and a minimum income. But, deferred tuition programs typically have more restrictions than ISAs.
Beyond loans, scholarships and grants, there are a few other ways to pay for a coding bootcamp. Some bootcamps offer fellowships with an outside partner as a way to provide opportunities to join an industry. Fellowship opportunities may not be provided by all bootcamps or have different eligibility requirements than scholarship offers.
Lastly, employers may have their own sponsorship opportunities for employees. This could be a voucher to attend a part-time course or tuition support to gain new skills.
Going to a coding bootcamp is one of the most rewarding investments you can make in yourself. Spend the time researching your financing options so you can find the right bootcamp for you!