How to Pay for a Coding Boot Camp

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Coding boot camps are short-term training programs with big price tags. For a typical 15-week coding boot camp, you’ll pay an average of $11,906 for in-person programs, according to Course Report, a coding boot camp review site.

Coding boot camps are run by for-profit companies and are not accredited schools. That means the boot camps aren’t overseen by the government, and their attendees are ineligible for federal student aid, like the Pell Grant, or federal student loans. Boot camp students also can’t get private student loans because these lenders require borrowers to enroll in traditional two-year or four-year college programs.

» MORE: 4 alternatives to traditional college

If you’re set on attending a coding boot camp — and you can’t pay out of pocket — here are your payment options.

Attend an EQUIP pilot program school

Low-income students could get federal financial aid through a pilot program called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships, or EQUIP. The catch is that there are only eight schools in the program. They’re located in Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Texas. Find details on the EQUIP website.

Apply for scholarships from the boot camp

Most boot camps offer scholarships to students. Many are awarded based on a student’s financial need and each will carry additional requirements. Course Report has a list of coding boot camp scholarships available on its site.

Consider an income-share agreement or deferred tuition

Some boot camps 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 pay $28,000 after deferment versus paying $17,000 upfront.

Some boot camps offer deferred tuition until you get a job or allow you to make an income-share agreement.

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. They start paying only once they are hired for a job paying at least $40,000 annually.

Attend a tuition-guarantee school

There are some coding boot camps, such as 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 boot camps qualify since this perk may only apply to traditional programs.

» MORE: Companies that offer employer student loan repayment 

Use G.I. Bill funds

If you’re a veteran with GI Bill benefits, there are several coding boot camps that are eligible to accept GI Bill money. Use the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs search tool to find coding boot camps that qualify.

Take out a personal loan

If you need money for your coding boot camp, steer toward personal loans and away from credit cards. Personal loans have lower interest rates and are better for large expenses. To borrow, you have two main options:

  • A traditional personal loan from a bank, credit union or online. It’s a potentially pricey option because many carry high interest rates. Your rate will depend on your credit score, credit report and debt-to-income ratio. You’ll also have to begin paying them off immediately, and payoff terms are short, typically five years.

» MORE: Can (and should) I used a personal loan for college? 

  • Coding boot camp loans with personal loan lenders. Private lenders such as  Skills Fund and ClimbCredit partner directly with coding boot camps 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.

If you need money for your coding boot camp, steer toward personal loans and away from credit cards.

Assess the ROI

No coding boot camp is worth financing if the return on investment isn’t there. All boot camps are likely to advertise the promise of jobs after completing. But you need to be sure. Before you consider any coding boot camp financing option, research your job prospects.

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet