How to Pay for a Bootcamp: Loans and Financing Options

In this article, we're exploring your options for paying for a bootcamp, including loan providers, income-share agreements and the GI Bill.
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One of the most important investments you might make in your life is in your education. But that knowledge doesn’t make a big financial decision any easier. Professional bootcamps are short-term immersive programs designed to equip participants with specialized tech skills they need to launch in-demand careers. For those looking to transition into a new career, these courses can be both cost-effective and efficient, but many still do carry a fairly hefty price tag. 

This article serves as our ultimate guide breaking down the different choices you have when it comes time to pay for a bootcamp program. Read on if you’re interested in learning more about financing your bootcamp education and our top tips for tackling a payment plan. 

The Cost of Coding and other Bootcamps

Bootcamps typically run for approximately six months, can be taken online, in-person, or in hybrid settings, and may offer partial or full-time instruction. Some providers offer streamlined instruction in specific skillsets, while others supplement their offerings with career services and networking opportunities. 

As you might guess, these factors lead to a wide variation in what one might expect to pay for a bootcamp. However, according to CourseReport, the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,584. While the sticker shock might be high, consider the return on investment. Bootcamp programs are specifically designed to get you in a higher-paying specialized tech position. Not to mention, the average cost of just one year of in-state tuition for an undergraduate degree program is $9,687. This rises sharply to $21,184 for out-of-state students and to $35,087 for private institutions according to USNews. 

If you’re at the point of your bootcamp search where you’re ready to determine your financial options, you are likely to consider one or a combination of these methods:

  • Funding through personal savings (Pay out of Pocket)
  • Choosing a lending partner
  • Pursuing scholarship programs
  • Selecting a Income-share agreements and/or deferred tuition program
  • Seeing if your school qualifies for the GI Bill.

For your convenience, this comprehensive guide breaks down each of those choices to help you determine the right payment option for your individual circumstances. While it can be a major step to commit to a financial decision of this scope, we hope this explainer helps you confidently move forward with your education journey! 

Bootcamp Finance and Lending Options 

One of the most common ways students pay for bootcamps is through private or personal loans. In fact, many providers have established direct relationships with lending partners. While you will likely not be obligated to use their partner, working with a lending institution that has experience with a specific program can ensure that your loans are flexible and fair for the bootcamp you’ve signed up for. 

There are several factors you’ll want to consider before signing up for a private loan. As a type of loan, interest will accrue over time, so you’ll want to explore the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) offered by the lender. Other factors to look at include the ability to qualify for an interest-only loan or the option to take on a co-signer. The accessibility of a private loan will likely depend on your credit score, savings and income-to-debt ratio. Always consult with a trusted third-party financial advisor before making any decision. 

With that said, here are four private lenders that work with some of the most popular and largest bootcamp providers: 

1. Climb Credit 

This provider claims they specifically select partner schools based on ROI factors like graduation and job placement rates and salaries. Borrowers are assured of fixated interest rates starting at 6.50% and they work with over 25 schools including General Assembly, Dev League and Coding Campus.

2. Ascent Funding 

Ascent has been recognized as one of the top private student loan providers by NerdWallet and Money.com and has provided loans for more than 15,000 bootcamp students. Interested students can compare programs using their filtering tools and see financing options for providers like Coding Dojo, Fullstack Academy, Bloc and more. 

3. Upstart 

This is an AI-backed lending platform founded by ex-Googlers with a mission to improve access to affordable credit. The peer-to-peer lending platform considers education and experience, in addition to credit score when servicing loans and has partnerships with multiple major providers like General Assembly and FullStack Academy.

4. Earnest 

Earnest also prides itself on looking beyond credit score to provide students with low interest rates and flexible payment options. On their site, in just two minutes, students can explore student loan payment adjustment options, with variable rates starting at 1.88% APR. Earnest partners directly with DevMountain, General Assembly, Code Fellows and Startup Institute 

 Bootcamp Scholarships

Regardless of the bootcamp program you pursue you’re likely to be eligible for a number of full or partial scholarship opportunities. Luckily, we have a resource page breaking down all the scholarships offered by more than 20 top bootcamp providers. Here, you’ll find opportunities to receive funding based on need, merit, or membership of a group underrepresented in the tech sector. We’ve additionally broken down all the best opportunity scholarships for women, People of Color, LGBTQ+ people and veterans. 

If you’re not seeing the perfect scholarship option for you or the provider of your choice is not listed, we recommend reaching out to an admissions counselor. You never know the opportunities that could be available if you don’t ask! 

Paying for Bootcamps with an Income-Share Agreements or Deferred Tuition 

What is an income-share agreement? Fortunately, we once again have a full resource page that dives into the topic in detail! But in short, an ISA is a payment plan in which students pay nothing or very little until after they complete a bootcamp program. Upon completion of the program, and once a student has become successfully employed using their new skills, they begin to repay the provider by giving them a percentage of that income for a set period of time, or until they have paid a set total amount.

This type of payment option, also called a deferred tuition or payment plan, is a win-win for both provider and students as it is inclusive to students no matter their financial background, and is a testament to the professional success students can expect after completing the course. In researching this type of payment plan, pay special attention to the historical outcome data published by providers, as well as the terms you agree to regarding the types of professional roles and salary minimum that triggers payment. 

Some providers will go as far as offering a job guarantee, meaning students are eligible for a full refund if they do not land a role in the field within a specified time period following program completion. We once again encourage you to reach out to an admissions counselor or program representative to understand the full terms and options of any ISA or deferred tuition plan before deciding to take this route. 

Paying for Bootcamps with the GI Bill or EQUIP

Bootcamps are not accredited institutions, which means they are not eligible for government student tuition assistance programs like Pell Grants, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or state grants. However, veterans can access funding through the G.I. bill for a number of bootcamp programs. 

As of this writing in August 2021, the Post 9/11 GI bill will provide funding for some bootcamp programs for a period of up to 36 months. To qualify, service members must have served at least 90 days of active duty, been honorably discharged with a service-related disability after at least 30 days of continuous duty, been honorably discharged after receiving a Purple Heart, or be the dependent child of a qualifying service member, according to Militarybenefits.info.

Qualifying service members can use these benefits pay for tuition and fees for eligible educational programs, housing, and educational materials such as books. The amount of benefits a service member or veteran receives depends on how much time they served.Additionally, in 2016, the government launched EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnership) program, as a means to explore federal financing for bootcamp and non-traditional educational programs. EQUIP is still in its experimental phase, but does provide funding to a select number of programs for low-income students. You can read more about EQUIP offerings and see the full list of providers here.

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