Coding bootcamps aren’t cheap — the average program will run you around $13,580 in tuition alone. If shelling out the cash upfront isn’t an option, we don’t blame you.
Here’s six ways to pay for a coding bootcamp without dipping into your pockets.
Apply to Scholarships First
Scholarships are free money, which means you never have to pay them back. So, before you pursue any other options, apply to as many scholarships as you can.
Here’s a few places to look:
Keep in mind that many bootcamp scholarships will be need-based, meaning you’ll have to demonstrate that you’re unable to afford the program otherwise. If you don’t fall into the threshold considered for need-based aid, narrow your search to focus on just merit-based aid.
If you don’t secure any scholarships your first year, keep applying throughout your program. There are tons of scholarships available that aren’t exclusively for first-year students. And, many students don’t know they can apply beyond their first year, so competition for these funds tends to be better.
Look at Your Employer’s Benefits
Many employers offer to cover a portion of tuition for job-related training. While some will only cover a small portion of the cost, others will reimburse you for the entire expense.
Keep in mind that these aren’t always advertised openly, so don’t be afraid to ask your boss directly. Some companies don’t offer it typically, but may be willing to if you’ve been a valuable worker they want to retain.
If your current employer doesn’t offer these benefits, consider applying with a company that does. For example, Verizon offers free technical training through their Skill Forward program.
Use the GI Bill If You Have It
If you’re a veteran with access to GI Bill benefits, make sure to use them. There are a variety of coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funds, which would save you quite a bit.
To determine which programs do, use the Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill Comparison tool. Here’s a few schools that do accept GI Bill money to kick off your search:
Look Into Private or Personal Loans
If an income-share agreement isn’t an option, or if you’d prefer a more traditional loan, consider a private or personal loan. Keep in mind that most private lenders don’t work with coding bootcamps, but some do — they just might be more challenging to find.
Personal loans are also an option — just beware of the interest rate. Average personal loan rates range from 9.30% to 22.16%, which can skyrocket your overall debt total quickly.
Before agreeing to any loan, always compare your options through Meratas first. This will allow you to see all your options in one place to verify which loan option is best for you. Then, you can complete the application within the Meratas platform, keeping the entire loan process in one place.
While asking for support from others doesn’t always feel comfortable, crowdfunding can be a successful way to pay for your degree. Platforms like GoFundMe allow you to set up a virtual fundraiser, share the page with friends and family, and accept donations. While they do take a cut from the money you receive, it helps centralize the fundraising process.
What About Federal Financial Aid?
Unfortunately, coding bootcamps aren’t eligible to receive federal financial aid. While this will save you from the headache that is the FAFSA process, it’ll mean you need to look elsewhere for funding. If you’re approached by anyone stating that you need to submit your federal financial aid forms or that you’re eligible for federal aid, it’s likely a scam.
Other Things to Consider
Before investing in a costly degree, it’s important to assess the potential return on your investment. Ask yourself:
- Will my future salary outweigh the upfront cost of the program?
- Does this program provide the support and resources I need?
- Am I confident I’ll be getting ample value from this program?
If you aren’t quite sure, it might be best to rethink where you plan to enroll. Also, consider whether the program offers a tuition guarantee. Programs like The Flatiron School offer a full tuition refund if you don’t find a qualifying role within six months of graduating. While most schools don’t do this, it’s a nice layer of protection to have in your back pocket.