No Risk: Why You Should Only Attend a Coding School with Deferred Tuition

It just makes sense.

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Deferred tuition could change the world of education. That’s what Course Report, one of the top coding bootcamp review sites, has said about App Academy’s innovative tuition model. While App Academy also offers students the ability to pay for tuition up-front, Course Report says you should seriously consider deferment because it makes the most financial sense.

We can’t disagree with that assessment.

Waiting to pay until after you’re hired is a powerful thing because it significantly reduces economic barriers to education. Where some students who have cash in-hand are able to attend any program, most can’t or won’t because they don’t have the resources. As an example, a Course Report demographics study from December 2017 found 42 percent of bootcamp students, such as homemakers, students, and the unemployed, didn’t have a full-time job before attending. This group largely doesn’t have available funds to pay for most bootcamps that charge anywhere from $15,000-$20,000 upfront..

From App Academy’s end, we’ve taught thousands of people who have explicitly told us they wouldn’t have made the jump into programming without it. Their educational background is varied but uniformly tell a story that reveals their serious economic need before the bootcamp.

One of our students was a college graduate whose first job was as as freelance musician making less than $20,000 a year. For a few years, he spent most of the money he made on paying off loans, food, and rent in a metropolitan area. When he decided to change his life and get into coding, he had no bank savings to speak of. But he was able to get enough money for the down payment and to get him through the program in terms of food and housing, betting he’d be able to make up the money through his first job as a programmer. And he was right. His first job paid him $100,000, allowing him to pay off his education in less than a year.  

In lieu of full deferment options, some bootcamps offer financial aid or private scholarships, but we’ve found these aren’t generous enough for individuals in low income brackets. With the average bootcamp costing about $11,500 on average, and many on the upwards of $20,000, scholarships worth two-three thousand dollars per student — and without high job placements numbers or guarantees — are a scary proposition.

When considering the rise in cost of living and the fact that salaries at most non-tech companies have failed to keep up, income drivers like deferred tuition are a very viable option.

Here are three of the main reasons objective reviewers like Course Report say you should think about deferment.

  • You don’t have cash: People with limited financial resources can be squeezed by the total upfront cost of a bootcamp, which includes costs of living, like rent and food, as well as opportunity costs, like salary lost while you study.
  • Financing is difficult or non-existent: Some upfront-payment schools offer partnerships with companies that lend money to fund tuition, but taking out loans is usually a separate, involved process. Loans can also rise in interest and add more money to total cost students should be paying.
  • Low financial risk for students: App Academy takes on the risk of educating a student before receiving full-compensation because the school believes its curriculum is so strong it will lead to high-paying jobs for its students. And it does. App Academy has the highest starting salary for graduates of bootcamps and places most all of them in jobs within a year. The school was also the first bootcamp to implement the deferred tuition model, in 2012, and has more experience making it work for its students.

So what’s App Academy’s main deferment program?  

Students are required to pay a refundable $3,000 deposit, though that amount can be lowered if accepted into App Academy’s Deposit Assistance Program. Only once you’re hired, earning a compensation of over $50,000 as a software engineer, will you be required to pay tuition ($28,000 of the alum’s first-year salary). And that’s it. Over two-thousand people have gone through the program in this way.

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