a hand dropping a coin in a piggy bank How to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp

How to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp in 2021: A Comprehensive Guide

Many aspiring tech professionals don’t want to spend years in college to get a degree. A rapidly increasing number of students are opting instead for intensive bootcamp to get their tech education. In a bootcamp, these students can gain the skills they need to kickstart their tech careers in just a few months.

You can pay for a bootcamp program in a variety of ways. Some bootcamps offer installment plans and scholarships. Many partner with financing companies like Ascent or offer income share agreements (ISAs). Let’s take a closer look at the myriad ways students can finance their bootcamp education.

What Is a Coding Bootcamp? 

A coding bootcamp offers short-term, career-orientated technical training courses. You can learn Python, Java, SQL, and big data, among many other technologies. Attending a bootcamp is a good idea if you want to start a career in technology. Coding bootcamps usually run anywhere from two weeks to a year, but most don’t exceed four months. 

How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?

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The average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,584, according to nerdwallet.com. Many coding bootcamps offer students career services and access to a network of hiring partners, making these programs an even better investment. There are countless financing options to help you cover your tuition and living expenses.

College vs. Coding Bootcamp Tuition Comparison

If you want to break into the tech industry, choosing between a university degree or a coding bootcamp can be tricky. Cost is definitely a factor to consider. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), on average, college tuition is $24,623 per year. As we have already seen, the cost of an entire bootcamp is almost half that. 

Common Coding Bootcamp Financing and Payment Options: Overview

Bootcamp tuition can be a substantial financial burden for the student as these programs aren’t cheap. Fortunately, there are many payment options to help you finance your bootcamp education, whether you choose an online or in-person program.

  1. Upfront payment 
  2. Private loans
  3. GI Bill 
  4. Tuition reimbursement 
  5. Scholarships
  6. Income share agreement
  7. Deferred tuition 

How to Pay for Coding Bootcamps: In-Detail

Upfront Payment

Choosing to pay upfront for your coding bootcamp eliminates the stress of paying interest or monthly installments. You simply find out how much the coding bootcamp costs and pay that amount in full before classes start.

It might be worth considering saving money over a few months prior to the bootcamp so that you can pay your tuition upfront. Paying upfront is a great option for dealing with debt while in between jobs, as you won’t be accruing any more debt.  

Upfront Payment Pros

  • You won’t have to complete a credit check and don’t need an impressive credit score. 
  • Avoids the stress of having to pay monthly installments.
  • You don’t have to pay interest.

Upfront Payment Cons

  • Saving up to pay for tuition upfront may mean you need to wait a few months before you can start the program. 
  • After paying for your tuition, you may run out of funds to cover other expenses like textbooks. 

Private Loans

You can finance your bootcamp education with a loan from a financing company. Repayment terms vary widely, with some loan providers giving the borrower as long as 20 years to repay the loan. However, five, seven, and 10-year repayment terms are far more common.

Private loans accrue interest, and the loan provider will perform a credit check to verify your credit score. Students should consider Climb Credit, Ascent, and Sallie Mae for private student loans. 

Private Loans Pros

  • You don’t have to save up to pay the tuition upfront. 
  • There are several repayment options to accommodate your current and future income. 
  • There are many private student loan providers to choose from. 

Private Loans Cons

  • You must perform a credit check, and a bad credit score can disqualify you from a student loan. 
  • You must repay your loan on time according to your payment plan or your credit score will be affected.
  • Loan eligibility requirements can be strict. 

GI Bill 

If you’re a US veteran, you can use your GI Bill benefits to attend a coding bootcamp. Many bootcamps accept GI Bill benefits. The GI Bill can cover the entire cost of your bootcamp program as well as living expenses. It is important to note that the GI Bill only covers in-state tuition fees. 

To find out which coding bootcamp accepts GI Bill benefits, use the US Department of Veterans Affairs search tool. 

GI Bill Pros

  • You won’t have to pay back any money or deal with interest. 
  • You won’t have to worry about tuition and can focus instead on your studies. 
  • You can start studying immediately. 

GI Bill Cons

  • Not all bootcamps accept GI Bill benefits.
  • You only have access to GI Bill benefits for 36 months. 
  • Veterans have ten years after leaving service to claim their GI Bill benefits. 

Tuition Reimbursement 

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement for employees who attend coding bootcamp programs. Employees usually pay upfront, and the company refunds part or the whole tuition when they complete the bootcamp.

Some companies choose to repay the tuition via stock shares, a paycheck, or add it to the salary of the employee. Before agreeing to such a scheme, find out all the terms and conditions and make sure there is a contract in place to protect you and your employer. 

Tuition Reimbursement Pros

  • Many employers pay for textbooks and other learning material, which reduces your costs. 
  • You don’t have to stress about monthly repayments or interest rates.
  • Your education will be free, or very cheap, after your employer reimburses you. 

Tuition Reimbursement Cons

  • In some companies, the terms for this type of scheme may not be very flexible. 
  • The amount of paperwork and administrative tasks involved may be substantial. For example, you will need to submit receipts in order to be reimbursed. 
  • It may take one to two years to be fully reimbursed.


Many coding bootcamp offer scholarships to their students. You don’t have to repay scholarships which also means you don’t have to deal with interest. Scholarships are awarded based on merit. The major bootcamps have scholarships targeting individuals from specific groups, such as minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, or veterans.

Scholarship Pros

  • There are no repayment terms or interest fees. 
  • You don’t need an outstanding credit score or even a soft credit check. 
  • Earning a scholarship is an achievement in itself that proves your expertise and dedication. Such distinction will help you when applying for jobs.

Scholarship Cons

  • Bootcamps only offer a small number of scholarships every year, so competition is fierce.
  • Applying for a scholarship is usually a stressful process.
  • There is never a guarantee that you’ll get a scholarship, even if you have an excellent academic record or impressive coding skills. 

Income Share Agreement

The income share agreement (ISA) is a scheme quickly gaining popularity in the bootcamp world. The bootcamp provider agrees to cover the cost of your tuition so that you can attend the program without spending a dime. Once you graduate and start working and earning above a certain threshold, you pay back the bootcamp an agreed percentage of your salary for an agreed amount of time. 

The terms of an ISA can vary widely. Under some ISAs, you will have to make payments for a period of two years; others will require you to pay for up to ten. Likewise, if your salary drops below a certain level, some ISAs will allow you to pause payments; others won’t. Vemo and Meratas are trusted ISA providers. 

Income Share Agreement Pros

  • You can attend the bootcamp for free and only start paying when you land a job.
  • You don’t have to pay any upfront fees or interest rates. 
  • Under some ISAs, payments are paused when your income falls below a certain level. 

Income Share Agreement Cons

  • The eligibility criteria for ISAs are strict, and you may not qualify. 
  • ISAs are still not as widely available as most other payment options. 
  • Your income determines the percentage you must repay monthly, so high-earners may have to pay very high fees. 
  • You may end up paying more than the original tuition.

Deferred Tuition 

Another common bootcamp financing option is deferred tuition. Students pay nothing or a small fee upfront and the rest is due when they graduate and find a job. As with an ISA, students make monthly payments, but this time they are based on a predetermined amount, not a percentage of their salary. Unlike ISAs, under a deferred tuition scheme, students stop paying as soon as they reach the amount of the tuition. 

Deferred Tuition Pros

  • You don’t need an excellent credit score or a soft credit check. 
  • Many bootcamps don’t require any upfront payments. 
  • You don’t have to stress about paying tuition fees while you study. 

Deferred Tuition Cons

  • You must pay every month until you cover your tuition. 
  • The eligibility criteria can be quite strict.

Coding Bootcamp Cost Comparison: 2021 Tuition Fees and Payment Options

The table below shows the best coding bootcamps, their average tuition costs, and the available financing options.

Coding BootcampTuition CostsPayment and Financing Options
App Academy$20,000 to $31,000 per program Deferred tuition planISAPrivate loans from Climb Credit 
Coding Nomads$9 to $899 per monthInstallments
Flatiron School0 to $17,000 per program ScholarshipsPrivate loans from Climb Credit or Ascent 
General Assembly$3,000 to $16,000 per programTuition reimbursement Private loans from Climb Credit or MeritizeInstallments 
Hack Reactor$17,980 per program ISAPrivate loans from Ascent or Climb CreditGI Bill benefitsScholarships
Ironhack$7,500 to $12,500 per programPrivate loans from Climb Credit or Skills Fund 
Nucamp$350 to $1880 per programScholarshipsFair Student Agreement
Tech Elevator$15,950 per programISAScholarshipsTuition reimbursementGI Bill Private loans from Ascent or Sallie Mae
The Software Guild$10,000 per program Installments Private loans from Climb Credit 
Tech Academy$5,000 to $14,000 per program ISAPrivate loans from Climb Credit or SupermoneyInstallments with Affirm 

Which Coding Bootcamp Payment Option Is Right For You? 

To determine which coding bootcamp financing option works best for you, consider these three factors. 

Job Guarantee 

When assessing bootcamp payment options, find out if the bootcamp offers a job guarantee or if it has solid career services to help you find a lucrative job after graduation. If there’s no job guarantee or the bootcamp does not offer any career assistance, avoid paying upfront or through loans. 

Available Funds 

Without a steady source of income, some payment options are not on the table. For example, avoid taking a private loan if you’re unlikely to have enough money coming in over the next few months to repay it. If you don’t have a reliable source of income, you are better off considering scholarships or veterans benefits.  

Eligibility Criteria

Many of the payment options considered above have very particular eligibility criteria. Many people simply won’t qualify for GI Bill benefits, ISA, deferred tuition plans, or certain scholarships. 

Taking out a loan can also be tricky. Private loan lenders will perform a credit check on any potential borrower. If you have any overdue credit card bills or bad credit, you may only qualify for a small loan or for none at all.

How to Pay for a Coding Bootcamp FAQ

How much does a coding bootcamp cost?

The average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,584, according to nerdwallet.com. To fund your tuition, you can pay the fees upfront or apply for a scholarship, deferred tuition plan, income share agreement, GI Bill benefits, or tuition reimbursement.

Are coding bootcamps free?

Some coding bootcamps are free but most are not. If you can’t afford the tuition, consider taking out a private loan from a financing company like Ascent Funding or applying for a scholarship, deferred tuition plan, ISA, or tuition reimbursement. If you are a veteran, you can also see if the bootcamp accepts GI Bill benefits.

Can I get financial aid for a coding bootcamp?

Yes, you can get financial aid for a coding bootcamp. Students can use scholarships, deferred tuition plans, private loans, income share agreements, and GI Bill benefits. However, not all these options may apply to you.

How do I pay for a coding bootcamp?

Depending on the coding bootcamp, there are several ways to pay. US veterans can use their GI benefits, and other students can use private loans, deferred tuition plans, or scholarships. You can also opt for an income share agreement, tuition reimbursement, or pay the tuition fees upfront.

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