You've taken an important stride towards altering your professional future; you have been accepted to a high-quality coding, data science, or entrepreneurial bootcamp. But what's the best way to pay for it?
Whether it’s your first time to attend a coding, data science, cyber security, or entrepreneurial bootcamp, or you’ve gone down this path before, leaving your job behind to dive into an immersive and intensive program takes financial gusto.
Skills Fund partner bootcamps are vetted for quality of curriculum and successful student outcomes, so with professional opportunity at the end of the tunnel ahead, let our handy checklist help you pick the right lane to finance your bootcamp education.
WEIGH THE OPTIONS
How to pay for your bootcamp program? Most programs require payment in full prior to your start date, so look for:
- Scholarships: most bootcamps offer scholarships to females, minorities, and/or veterans
- Payment Plans: the total sum of your coding education could be easier to digest if the bootcamp offers payment options
- Payments in your best interest: cash, credit card, or a financing partner – that’s the question!
Your bootcamp education is not eligible for traditional student loans, so in order to finance it, you can select from a number of lenders who offer various financing products and - in some cases - radically different approaches to lending.
Full Cash Payment
Like buying a house, or similar large-scale investments, paying cash for a bootcamp isn’t always the best use of your money. Rather, these funds can yield high-returns in select financial vehicles and provide you liquidity as you quite your job to attend a bootcamp.
Hip, hip, hooray for credit card points! But for those who cannot pay off the full cost of their education while in their program, the Annual Percentage Rate (interest rate plus all fees associated – read more here) can balloon upwards of 20% or more, causing the cost of your education to far exceed the original price.
Loans get a bad wrap, because it’s generally thought that these are only for those who need extra hands to finance their education. But loans help to keep your savings intact for other uses, can offer low, highly-competitive APRs (which means you keep your costs down!), and give you flexibility in selecting a payment option that works best for you with helpful perks.
But, which lender to choose? Look for the following things when researching your loan financier:
GET TO KNOW THEIR BUSINESS MODEL
Do they lend directly to students (meaning, are you lead generation for other products) or do they underwrite your partner school and only then offer financing?
What’s the difference? Well essentially, the difference is incentives. Some financiers exist to help promote student access to quality education, while others want to explore how they can be your long-term financial partner selling you lost of products for years to come.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
Ask these questions upfront:
- What do I need to provide in my credit application?
- How does my work history and current salary affect my interest rate?
- Are your interest rates fixed or variable?
- How does my FICO score affect my loan terms?
- What is your origination fee?
- What is the total APR on my loan (read more on APR here)?
- Do you have cosigner options?
- Do you lend to permanent residents or foreign nationals?
- Do you lend in all 50 states?
- How long does it take to apply?
- How quickly will I know if I’m pre-approved?
- Can I finance my tuition deposit?
- Do you offer cost of living loans?
- How do you and my program have skin in the game?
PICK YOUR PARTNER
There are a number of lenders who operate in the bootcamp space, including Skills Fund.
Ask your Director of Admissions or Campus Director for which lenders work directly with your school and dive on in!
And here’s the Skills Fund plug – we don’t finance students to attend crappy programs. That’s not in your best interest, nor ours. We believe your investment (both financial + time) in education should directly equate to successful professional opportunity and outcomes for you. When you win, we win.