Do you want to learn in-demand technical skills but are concerned about how to pay for a coding bootcamp? Rather than opting for student loan debt, consider an employer-sponsored model. In other words, you can get an employer sponsorship for bootcamp programs in tech.
If you want a successful career in tech, you need to solve any skills gap keeping you from moving up the tech ladder. Fortunately, you can ask your employer for sponsorship, which would allow you to gain the skills you need and add more value to the company.
We’ve partnered with Learn In to create this comprehensive guide with all the information you need to have a smart conversation with your employer about your interest in building a career in tech. We’ll explain why sponsorship programs in the workplace are excellent. We’ll also cover what employer sponsorship is, the requirements for employer sponsorship, and how to secure this financial aid solution.
What Is Employer Sponsorship?
A tuition sponsorship from an employer is a program in the workplace where the employer covers all or part of an employee’s studies. There are employer sponsorship programs in the workplace to get a university degree, attend community college, or study at selective bootcamps for tech.
How much your employer invests in your learning journey depends on what you study. For in-demand skills, your employer may cover the total cost or most of your program’s fees. However, if training covers skills that aren’t that valuable to your employer, the company may only contribute a small amount.
But now the question is, do employees have to repay this sponsorship? You’ll have to speak to your employer about what they expect in return. Most companies penalize employees who leave their company after training without staying for the negotiated time. Employers also forgive a portion of the loan amount for every year you stay at the company.
GI Bill vs. Tuition Assistance From Your Employer
The primary difference between GI Bill benefits and employer sponsorship is that the former is for military personnel only. If you want quality tech education from coding bootcamp, but you’ve never been in the military, you can’t benefit from the GI Bill. In the world of coding bootcamps, GI Bill benefits are more common than employer sponsorships.
Income Share Agreement vs. Tuition Assistance From Your Employer
An income share agreement (ISA) is an agreement under which the coding bootcamp funds the student’s bootcamp education. In exchange, the student pays a percentage of their future salary to the coding bootcamp every month. Some think of an ISA as a type of coding bootcamp job guarantee. ISAs sound good, but they put a lot of pressure on job seekers after training.
Fortunately, many coding bootcamps grant grace periods or put students’ repayments on hold if they lose their job. Although ISAs are a great tool to finance your studies, you should always keep in mind that you’ll be paying a hefty amount every month until you’ve repaid the entire ISA amount.
Student Loans vs. Tuition Assistance From Your Employer
Nobody wants to study to improve their current tech job while having to repay loans for years to come. Yet student loans do have some perks. In some cases, student loans may be your only option, as you can’t use federal loans to fund your coding bootcamp program. Only private student loans and personal loans work when it comes to coding bootcamps.
Compared to employer sponsorship, loans have stricter repayment terms and interest rates. Your loan provider will also do a credit check to ensure you can repay the loan. You can use a sponsor if you don’t have a credit score or have bad credit. As you can tell, there are many more technicalities with loans compared to employer sponsorship.
Why Do Bootcamp Students Request Employer Sponsorship?
Many prospective students wanting to study at some of the best coding bootcamps and join the tech industry don’t have the tuition money for their programs. They might not want to look at student loans either in fear of student loan debt. In these situations, an employer sponsorship may be a suitable solution.
Many tech workers have attended coding bootcamp through employer sponsorship. Unlike loans, employer sponsorship doesn’t involve interest rates or repayment penalties. If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for GI Bill benefits, scholarships, or an ISA, employer sponsorship may be your best bet.
A growing number of coding bootcamps accept this kind of tuition assistance because they understand the financial pressure of studying and know that some students can’t get loans for their programs.
As an added bonus, if you stick with your tech company after your training, you will likely avoid having to repay the sponsorship. Some bootcamp graduates have to stay with their employers for a couple of years after studying.
What Are the Requirements for Employer Sponsorship?
Most companies only consider supporting employees who’ve been working with them for a few years. In addition, some companies may demand that you stay with them for a few years after your training.
The reality is that there aren’t any set requirements for requesting sponsorship from your employer. Companies offering this type of financial assistance have their own rules and expectations for sponsoring an employee’s studies. It’s best to explain to the human resources department that you want to expand your current skills and find out how to start the process.
5 Steps to Get Employer Sponsorship in 2022
Step 1: Check your Benefits!
If you’re working for a large firm, chances are they already have some sort of tuition assistance program in place. According to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), 92% of U.S. employers offer tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits package, though few employees typically take advantage of this benefit.
Even if there isn’t a publicized program, don’t give up hope. Ask around to see if any of your coworkers have received educational assistance, and check in with your HR department. Many companies have a budget for learning and professional development. Resources that may have historically gone to cover travel for industry conferences could now be used for online courses through a bootcamp program.
Employers may offer education benefits in a few different ways; the most common are tuition reimbursement, tuition assistance, and employer-sponsored scholarships.
- Tuition Reimbursement: The way tuition reimbursement typically works is that you pay the upfront cost of tuition, and your employer reimburses you. Heads up, some employers only reimburse upon program completion!
- Tuition Assistance: With tuition assistance, employers may offer economic support upfront, thus helping employees for whom the upfront cost is a significant hurdle to upskilling.
- Employer-Sponsored Scholarships: While tuition reimbursement and tuition assistance tend to be widely available across the firm, employer-sponsored scholarships may only be available to select subsets of employees based on categories such as job functions and the need for particular technical skill development.
Step 2: Choose the Best Program for You and Your Employer
The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformations in companies as they try to become more resilient to disruption. In order to do so, companies need employees that can keep themselves up to date with the rise of new technologies. Because technical skills are in increasingly high demand, it’s crucial to research which coding bootcamps or programs best match your employer’s technical needs.
Depending on your industry of work, certain technical skills, such as data science or software engineering, may be in higher demand than others. Here are some of our suggestions to determine the best technical programs and skills for your company.
- Check out your company’s job postings to see if they are actively recruiting for certain technical roles. For example, if your company is looking for a data analyst, you may want to browse courses in data analytics.
- Research adjacent skills. Look at what your co-workers and managers do daily. Do they need keen problem-solving skills, mathematical capabilities, or vast knowledge of logistics? Asking these questions will give you an insight into what expertise your employer may be looking for.
- Research transferable skills. What are some general skills that can be transferred between jobs, departments, and industries? These can range from engineering or cybersecurity to analytics or design.
Step 3: Review the Advantages of Offering Tuition Assistance With Your Employer
If your employer does not yet offer tuition assistance, you can bolster your pitch for why they should invest in your education by bringing up the advantages of offering tuition assistance:
A major reason why companies offer tuition assistance benefits is that they help attract and retain talent. Studies by Lumina Foundation found that offering tuition assistance programs (TAP) can cut attrition by more than half for entry-level employees. This is also why some programs require employees to stay on the job for a certain period of time to qualify for reimbursement.
Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) allows for an employer to pay up to $5,250 in educational assistance benefits per employee each year on a nontaxable basis. This means that educational investments of up to $5,250 are both tax-deductible for the employer, and tax-free for the employee.
Educational assistance programs can cover everything from degree programs from universities to non-degree programs such as coding bootcamps. These tax benefits apply regardless of whether the courses taken are related to your current job responsibilities. So, career switchers can also use these benefits. However, for the tax benefits to apply, the educational assistance benefits must be available to all employees working at the firm.
Step 4: Help Your Employer Find Solutions for Your Tuition Sponsorship
Showing your employer that you’re willing to put in the extra effort of applying to scholarship programs will help signal your commitment to upskilling. Here are a few areas we recommend exploring for some of the best coding bootcamp scholarships.
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- If you are a veteran, you may qualify for funding under the GI Bill.
- If you identify as a woman or member of another group typically underrepresented in tech, you may qualify for certain scholarship opportunities.
- Check if your state offers skills development scholarships. Certain states, such as Texas, have a skills development fund that can help cover some of your coding bootcamp tuition costs.
Additionally, your employer may be interested in starting an income share agreement (ISA) program as a way to expand their tuition assistance budgets. An ISA is an alternative to a traditional loan wherein you receive funding for your education upfront and, depending on the terms, pay it back with a portion of your salary once you start earning above a certain threshold after graduating from the program.
If your employer wants to upskill several employees, they may benefit from an upskilling-as-a-service platform. Learn In offers software to supercharge a company’s upskilling initiatives by helping them track employees’ progress within bootcamps, measure the return on the investment, and allocate time and money to learning.
Step 5: Read the Fine Print
Finally, we recommend you dig into the fine print of your company’s tuition assistance offering. To qualify for certain tuition assistance programs, you may have to spend a certain amount of time working for your employer, either before or after the program. Make sure you meet those requirements. As we mentioned before, some education contracts ask you to commit to staying with the company for a certain period of time. This is anywhere from six months to two years, but it varies by company.
Also, make sure you are clear regarding the completion requirements. If you’re unable to finish the bootcamp, your employer will require you to settle any outstanding tuition fees. Also, ensure you clarify whether your company can help you pay for the program upfront upon enrollment versus upon completion.
Finally, you should always ensure that you understand the entire agreement, including small details like whether you need to attend a full-time bootcamp or a part-time course. If you have any questions or doubts, speak to your employer or the coding bootcamps admissions team.
Example of a Sample Letter to Employer Requesting Tuition Assistance
You know what the requirements of employer sponsorship are and how to get employer sponsorship. Now, let’s look at a sample letter for employer sponsorship.
Employer Sponsorship Request Sample Letter
Dear Mr Smith
I am writing you this letter as I believe progressing my current skills would have a valuable impact on your business. I would like to request your sponsorship to study software engineering at Coding School. This program will help me gain the skills in software development that I need to progress in my current role.
This is a 12-week bootcamp program, and I can either study full-time or part-time. I believe sponsoring my training at Coding School can help your company. I’ll have improved academic and development skills to provide expertise to your business.
I am positive that the professional networks and financial gain you’ll receive from this investment will be well worth it. Currently, this coding bootcamp has a student success rate of 95% and offers resources to enhance my learning.
In addition to the success the bootcamp program guarantees, I also commit to this company after completing my training. I agree to not look for employment elsewhere for at least two years after training. I understand that failure to fulfill this guarantee will require me to repay any outstanding tuition.
I’ve learned so much in my time working for your company. I feel confident in progressing my skills to become a significant asset to your business. Thank you for taking the time to read my request for employer sponsorship.
Oct 2, 2022
Additional Components of an Employer Sponsorship Request Letter
These are other sections that you may want to include in your employer sponsorship request letter.
- Bootcamp program overview. Write an overview of how many hours you need to study per day for the bootcamp program and the delivery format. Name any impressive or renowned instructors in the bootcamp program. Finally, mention the cost to complete this program.
- Bootcamp program courses. Write a concise list of courses your bootcamp program will cover.
- Bootcamp program guarantees. Include statistics on the student success rate as well as graduates’ salaries. Speak to the admissions advisors to get this information.
Is Employer Sponsorship for Bootcamp Programs in Tech Worth It?
Yes, if you want to reach a higher skill level or gain new skills for a different tech position, employer sponsorship is worth it. Unlike student loans, there are no interest rates for employer sponsorship, and you can negotiate the repayment terms.
There are many companies offering employer sponsorship programs. The best way to determine whether your employer will fund your studies is to ask directly or speak to HR. If you follow the steps above and provide good reasons as to why sponsoring your education is a wise move, you stand a good chance of getting an employer sponsorship.
Employer Sponsorship for Bootcamp FAQ
An employer sponsorship for bootcamp programs in tech is when your employer pays for the total cost or some of your tuition fees. It’s best to find a bootcamp program teaching skills that are valuable to your employer. Doing this will give your employer more reason to fund your studies.
Employer sponsorship programs in the workplace are excellent because you don’t have to repay the loan amount with interest. Most employers don’t expect you to repay the amount at all. However, you must stick with them for a few years after your program. You don’t have to worry about racking up good credit for this financial solution either.
Generally speaking, you don’t have to repay an employer sponsorship, but this depends on your employer. Many employers want you to stay with the company for an agreed period after your training as repayment for your sponsorship. If you look for a job elsewhere earlier, you must settle the outstanding tuition fees.
To get an employer sponsorship, start by checking your workplace benefits and if tuition assistance is available. Then, evaluate which skills and programs would be ideal for you and the company you work for. Now you can communicate the advantages of sponsorship to your employer and help them find potential solutions to fund your studies. When your employer has drafted an agreement, don’t forget to read the fine print.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.