Coding bootcamps are short-term training programs, but they can come with big price tags. For a typical full-time coding bootcamp, you’ll pay an average of $13,584 according to Course Report, a coding bootcamp review site. But some community colleges offer less expensive programs, like the one from John Tyler and Reynolds Community Colleges in Virginia that costs $3,945.
Many coding bootcamps (even those at community colleges) are run by private companies. These bootcamps typically aren’t overseen by the government, and their attendees are ineligible for federal student aid, like the Pell Grant, or federal student loans. Many bootcamp students also can’t get traditional private student loans because these lenders require borrowers to enroll in accredited two-year or four-year college programs.
If you’re attending a coding bootcamp — and you can’t pay out of pocket — here are your payment options.
Apply for scholarships from the bootcamp
Many bootcamps offer scholarships to students. They are often awarded based on a student’s financial need and will likely carry additional requirements. Course Report has a list of coding bootcamp scholarships available on its site.
Take out a loan
If you need to borrow money for your coding bootcamp, steer toward personal loans designed for bootcamp costs and away from credit cards or high-interest personal loans. Bootcamp loans may have lower interest rates and more favorable repayment terms for students.
Private lenders like Skills Fund and ClimbCredit partner directly with coding bootcamps to offer loans to attendees. Compare interest rates and terms to find the best deal. Also, look for deferment and forbearance options, which you might need if you have difficulty repaying.
Some bootcamps offer deferred tuition until you get a job or allow you to make an income-share agreement. At App Academy, for example, students have the option to defer payment until they get a job with a salary of at least $50,000 a year. But deferring means paying more money overall. At App Academy, students who defer end up paying $28,000 versus paying $17,000 upfront.
General Assembly offers an income-share agreement option it calls Catalyst. Income-share agreements, or ISAs, offer students funding for schooling in exchange for a percentage of their future income for an agreed-upon period of time. Through Catalyst, General Assembly graduates pay 10% of their income over 48 months. You start payments only after you get a job making at least $40,000 a year, but could end up paying up to 1.5 times the original cost of the program.
Attend a tuition-guarantee school
There are some coding bootcamps, like The Flatiron School, that offer a full refund on tuition if you don’t get a qualifying job offer within six months of graduating. These are rare, and there may be strings attached. For example, receiving an employment offer could make you ineligible for a refund even if you don’t take the job.
Check out employer benefits
If you want to get additional training to beef up your current coding skills, your employer may offer education, training or repayment benefits. Find out if coding bootcamps qualify since this perk may only apply to traditional programs.
Use GI Bill funds
If you’re a veteran with GI Bill benefits, there are several coding bootcamps that are eligible to accept GI Bill money. Use the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs search tool to find coding bootcamps that qualify. You may also be able to take advantage of the VET TEC program, which is tied to GI Bill eligibility, but doesn't deplete the time you have left on your GI Bill.
Assess the ROI
Find graduation and job outcomes. Ideally, you want to find schools with third-party verified reports. A good starting point is the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, a nonprofit that tracks this information.
Assess job possibilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook will tell you about median pay and education requirements for top-paying jobs in computer and information technology fields.