1. Find a Loan
Many coding bootcamps are run by for-profit organizations, making loans difficult to find. One of the loans to look into is the Department of Education’s EQUIP program (EQUIP) which provides low-income students with federal financial aid for non-traditional education. After graduation, you can take advantage of income-driven repayment or even loan forgiveness. Don’t forget to complete your FAFSA form if this is the route you plan to take.
There are also lenders who are willing to provide private student loans for non-traditional programs, and even some lenders who cater specifically to coding bootcamps. Private loans, however, do tend to have higher interest rates and stricter repayment terms; if you can’t find a job after graduating, you still have to repay the loan. Make sure you research private loans before you take them
Make sure to tell your story. People are more likely to loan you money if they know what the money is for. This is also a good opportunity to share with your network how bootcamp is going to help you reach your future aspirations and that you’ve put thought into your decision by showing them data behind the bootcamp.
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family. If they don’t want to donate money, discuss a loan agreement between you with a reasonable interest rate and payment schedule. Ask friends and family for a testimonial about why you’re trustworthy and/or why they loaned to you; testimonials can help convince people on the fence.
Share your crowdfunding link. Figure out where and how often you need to share your link to reach the most people with your campaign. If your network is unable to donate all you need, reach out to alumni of the bootcamp you wish to attend; they know the benefits of bootcamps and are likely to help.
Websites to consider if crowdfunding is your go-to school fund.
- Go Fund Me has no deadlines or goal requirements, and you keep all the donations you receive. Go Fund Me does not take a cut for personal campaigns, but they do charge a 2.9% processing fee and a fee of $.30 per transaction.
- YouCaring offers daily access to your funds, and while there is a 120-day limit on the length of fundraisers, you can raise as many as you want. YouCaring is now run by Go Fund Me, so they also have a 2.9% processing fee plus $.30 per transaction.
- GoGetFunding can be run both in the US and abroad. If you have a Stripe account, you can choose to use that account to receive donations instead of Paypal, if you would prefer. You can also offer bonuses to donors through your fundraiser. GoGetFunding charges 4% plus a 2.9% processing fee, which is slightly less expensive than Go Fund Me and YouCaring. GoGetFunding also charges $.25 or $.30 per transaction, depending on the processor used.
- LoanGifting is designed to pay down student loan debt by connecting to your student loan account and directly applying them to your student loans. There is a 3% fee charged by LoanGifting, plus a 2.9% processing fee and a $.30 per-transaction fee.
3. Already have a job? Get your boss to pay for your bootcamp
Technical know-how is imperative in business today and can better any corporate team. Most bosses recognize the importance of technical knowledge and most employees know that it can be a key to gaining more responsibility or even a promotion.
Gaining technical knowledge can boost any corporate team, and many bosses would rather have an employee learn a new skill than hire a new employee simply for that skill. Before going to your boss, put together a plan. Know the coding school you want to go to, when the next cohort meets, when classes are, and how much dedicated time the class will take. You should also take a look at the curriculum and learn just what you will be learning and how it can apply to your job; your boss will be more inclined to help if he knows exactly how bootcamp will improve your performance at work.
Knowing how you can apply your new knowledge at work is a selling point. You can teach your team new skills, learn how to talk to developers, and will gain a network of hirable developers through the bootcamp alumni. Figure out how your new skills can contribute to your current role, team, and even a job you want to have.
Make the commitment to your boss before starting a coding bootcamp; no employer wants to pay for an employee’s coding bootcamp just to have them leave for another job. Reassure them you will stay on and use your new skills at your current company, even if it is a small commitment. Another reassurance is showing your employer a return on their investment. Find out how much you could save the company having them pay for bootcamp versus how much it would take to hire a new employee. Find out if your new skills can help create new revenue for the company and make that a point.
Be aware of the compromises you will have to make. Some bootcamps are part-time but others require a full-time commitment and you might have to take time off of work. A good compromise is to take part-time or night classes. You also need to know if your employer will pay your salary while you are attending bootcamp because, if not, you might need to take time off for the course. Another good way to start small is pitching a weekly coding study group before you pitch a bootcamp to find more benefits.
Employers want to do good business, and doing good business is saving money. Find ways your employer can save money by asking questions. Does your company have money for employees furthering their education? Use it. Does your city/state have subsidies for education? Find out. Can your company get a tax break for paying the bill? If they do, your boss will warm up to the idea.
Finally, know what you’re committing to. When you made a guarantee with your boss, how long did you promise to stay at the company and apply your new skills? Did your boss guarantee you anything, like a promotion, when you can demonstrate your skill? And what would happen if you dropped out of bootcamp?
Alternative payment options include payment plans offered by schools. Many coding schools allow payment to be made over the course of several months instead of all upfront, and some even offer extensions. You might also consider a personal loan from a financial institution, though they carry many of the same risks as private lenders, higher interest rates and shorter payment periods, though there are often fewer restrictions on how you spend the money. Another option is to check out guaranteed-hire schools. These schools are confident that you will find a job that they offer a tuition-guarantee – if you meet certain criteria, the school will reimburse your tuition if you don’t find a job within six months of graduating.
There are a dozen ways to pay for a coding bootcamp, so don’t let your financial situation get in the way of starting your new dream career today.