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An affordable alternative to traditional academic programs, coding bootcamps deliver accelerated, practical training. Many beginner-friendly bootcamps do not maintain prerequisite coursework requirements. Bootcamp participants include individuals seeking a complete career change, professionals looking to update their skills, and students considering a traditional two-year or four-year computer science degree.
Our guide offers advice about paying for coding bootcamp. We explain typical costs and highlight a variety of coding bootcamp payment options, including scholarships, loans, payment plans, and income share agreements. We also discuss budgeting for coding bootcamp and how to decide if attending a bootcamp is worth it.
How Much Are Coding Bootcamps?
Coding bootcamp costs vary by program. Although they often offer a more affordable option than college degrees, bootcamps still represent a significant investment for many students. A 2019 report by RTI Press exploring technology-related bootcamps found a median program price of $11,900.
Generally, longer coding bootcamps cost more than shorter programs. The RTI report also found that the median tuition at a full-time bootcamp lasting 9-16 weeks can cost as much a year of graduate school at a public university. Click on the link below to find out more about coding bootcamp costs.
Source: RTI Press
Some bootcamps commit to placing participants into relevant paying positions within a certain time period after graduation. Job guarantees can relieve some of the stress of paying for coding bootcamps by acting as a form of insurance. Students should research the details of any job guarantees before enrolling, including whether or not they must accept any job offer, typical starting salaries, and how long schools can wait to make a placement.
A job guarantee may particularly benefit learners who lack relevant professional coding experience and need to get their foot in the door. For current tech professionals or individuals with information technology experience or connections, a job guarantee may not prove as necessary or enticing.
Ways To Pay for a Coding Bootcamp
Students can explore a variety of ways to pay for coding bootcamp, including paying in full upfront, choosing a payment plan, waiting to pay with deferred tuition, or signing an income share agreement. Other possibilities include employer tuition reimbursement, the GI Bill®, scholarships, and loans. Some students combine several coding bootcamp payment options. Bootcamps typically do not offer every financing opportunity listed below. Before enrolling, prospective bootcamp participants should research which payment modes potential schools accept.
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- Pay in Full, Upfront
- Although not an option for everyone, some students pay for coding bootcamp in full at the program's start. Many schools prefer this arrangement and offer tuition discounts for enrollees who pay their entire bill upfront. The convenience of paying once and then focusing on coursework represents another potential benefit of paying the full tuition amount immediately. Many learners find it infeasible to pay their entire tuition bill in full and upfront. School administrators recognize that cost presents a barrier for many potential bootcamp enrollees. RTI Press' study notes that 89% of bootcamps offered some type of aid in 2019. Keep reading to learn more about financial aid options for coding bootcamps.
- Set Up a Payment Plan
- Many coding bootcamps offer payment plans. For students who cannot pay the total tuition bill upfront, a payment plan, sometimes called an installment plan, may offer an attractive option. Payment plans make paying for coding bootcamps easier by spreading out the amount due over time. Program participants who can dedicate funds each month but lack sufficient savings to pay for coding bootcamp in full may benefit from making multiple smaller payments through a payment plan. These plans allow some learners to avoid taking out private loans, which often charge high interest rates.
- Wait To Pay With Deferred Tuition
- Some coding bootcamps offer a deferred tuition option. Deferred tuition program participants do not need to pay back their tuition until they find a coding job. Deferred tuition acts as a kind of insurance for bootcamp enrollees. Schools offering deferred tuition guarantee that their coding bootcamps will lead to employment or the student does not pay anything. Deferred tuition may appeal to students without substantial savings. This payment option lets learners complete a coding bootcamp without risking money on a program that does not help them find a better-paying job. Most traditional university programs do not offer deferred tuition.
- Sign an Income Share Agreement
- Similar to deferred tuition plans, income share agreements (ISAs) act as an insurance policy. These agreements require learners to pay their coding program a percentage of their income for a limited time. ISAs come into effect once bootcamp graduates begin to earn a specified minimum annual salary ($42,476 on average). ISAs remain uncommon among coding bootcamp payment options, but began growing in popularity in 2019. ISAs save students the stress of beginning tuition payments until they land a well-paying job in their field. Before agreeing to an ISA, participants should make sure to read the payment requirements' full details. Bootcamp enrollees should also consider the impact of dedicating part of their future salary to tuition repayment.
- Take Advantage of Employer Tuition Reimbursement
- Some students find help paying for coding bootcamps through their current workplaces. Employer tuition reimbursement, also called tuition assistance programs or employee-sponsored scholarships, helps pay an employee's tuition. A variety of companies offer employer tuition reimbursement. Employees typically must enroll in programs that develop skills their company needs. Some businesses require tuition reimbursement recipients to maintain employment with their company for a certain amount of time after graduation. They may also require employees who take a job elsewhere to repay tuition funds. Many people decide to enroll in bootcamps to make major career shifts, so unless their company can accommodate a transition to a computer science-related role, this option may not work.
- Can You Use Federal Financial Aid?
- Students pursuing a traditional college degree often qualify for federal financial aid, including loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study. Federal financial aid usually does not cover coding bootcamps because, unlike university degrees, bootcamps lack accreditation. However, coding bootcamps may qualify for one type of federal financial aid: the GI Bill. Read on to learn more about using GI Bill benefits to finance coding bootcamp costs.
GI BillAdministered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the GI Bill provides funding for veterans attending college, training programs, and graduate school. Vets can use GI Bill benefits to pay for coding bootcamp costs at VA-approved programs. GI Bill benefits cover tuition, housing, and textbooks. The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program can also help student veterans pay for coding bootcamps. A pilot program set to expire in 2024, VET TEC supports GI Bill-eligible students but does not reduce program participants' GI Bill entitlement. Student veterans can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to search for GI Bill- and VET TEC-eligible coding bootcamps. Not all bootcamps accept GI Bill benefits, so students should confirm with their school ahead of time.
- Get a Scholarship or Fellowship
- Highly sought-after forms of financial aid, fellowships and scholarships for coding bootcamps do not require repayment. To qualify for this free money, students may need to demonstrate academic merit or financial need. Many scholarships cater to specific groups based on racial, ethnic, religious, or gender identity. About a quarter of bootcamps (26%) surveyed in RTI Press' 2019 study offered scholarships. Most students still must take out loans or find another way to fund their coding bootcamp costs. Fellowship programs typically accept degree-seeking students or recent graduates with previous coding experience. Most fellowships cover full tuition. Students who use a scholarship or fellowship to pay for all or part of the cost of bootcamps can graduate with less anxiety about paying back loans or sacrificing part of their starting salaries.
- Take Out a Loan
- While coding bootcamp enrollees do not qualify for federal student loan funding, many bootcamp participants apply for private student loans to finance their training. Several banks and companies specialize in private bootcamp loans, including Skills Fund and Climb Credit. Loans help students who lack savings pay tuition, with the understanding that they must repay what they borrow. Borrowers should make sure to research interest rates, loan fees, and specific repayment terms before accepting any loan. Students with bad or no credit may not qualify for private loans. The terms and availability of coding bootcamp loans remain somewhat unclear, due to a lack of data from the private companies that provide these services.
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Budgeting for Your Bootcamp
Before you start exploring coding bootcamp payment options, make a budget to determine how much you can afford to invest in this experience. Consider how the payment method(s) you choose may impact your budget. Some ways of paying for coding bootcamp cost more than others. For example, unlike school-based payment plans, private loans often charge numerous fees and high interest rates. Additionally, loans, deferred tuition plans, and ISAs require repayment after graduation, while scholarships and fellowships do not.
Some ways of paying for coding bootcamp cost more than others.
Also, consider other requirements that can increase the cost of paying for coding bootcamps. In addition to tuition, costs may include required software and hardware, textbooks, down payments, and application fees. If you do not plan to work while attending bootcamp, think about how you will cover your living expenses during the program.
So, Is a Coding Bootcamp Worth It?
Pursuing a coding bootcamp requires a considerable financial investment for most participants. To get the most out of the experience, students must also devote significant time to coursework. For enrollees able to meet these demands, attending a bootcamp may unlock valuable career advancement opportunities. Students can calculate their estimated return on investment by factoring in the cost of tuition, the time required to graduate, their current income, and their projected income after completing coding bootcamp.
Bootcamp graduates often qualify for employment in a variety of computer science careers. They can further increase their salary potential and job options after advancing their skills over time. A 2020 survey of coding bootcamp alumni reported a $25,000 median salary increase after graduation. Survey participants earned a median $65,000 post-bootcamp salary.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Paying For Bootcamps
Does FAFSA cover coding bootcamps?No. Coding bootcamp enrollees do not qualify for federal financial aid. Students attending traditional university programs complete the FAFSA to determine their federal financial aid eligibility.
Can you get a student loan for a bootcamp?Students cannot take out federal loans to pay for coding bootcamp costs. However, private loans can help pay for coding bootcamps. Specialized private loan providers for coding bootcamps include Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
Can you get financial aid for coding bootcamps?Learners generally cannot use federal financial aid, other than GI BIll® benefits, to pay for coding bootcamp. Financial aid options for coding bootcamps include scholarships, fellowships, and private loans.
Can you use a 529 plan to pay for coding bootcamp?Students can use a 529 plan to pay for coding bootcamp if the program takes place at an institution eligible for Title IV federal student aid. Coding bootcamp participants cannot use 529 plans to pay for programs from private companies.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.
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