Coding bootcamps promise opportunity just beyond the horizon. With a short investment of time and resources, students can dramatically transform their career prospects—and their lives. In a perfect world, we’d all have access to these opportunities and the ability to take charge of our destinies.
Unfortunately, real life and financial responsibilities often stop us from taking a risk and making a difference. Coding bootcamps can require a full-time commitment, and many of us can’t afford to put life on hold, even when the rewards are enticing. Rent is due, bills need to be paid, and there’s no way around it—until now. To address this problem, one coding bootcamp came up with an innovative solution: Thinkful’s Living Stipend.
Thinkful performed extensive research on the issue, and will now offer living stipends to select students as an addition to its Income Share Agreement offering, through which students pay no tuition upfront.
The living stipends aim to cover living expenses during the course, allowing students to focus on their education instead of financial concerns. Students receiving a stipend from Thinkful are equipped with the tools and means they need to overcome financial barriers and break into the industry.
The Research and Design Behind Thinkful’s Living Stipend
After graduating thousands of students, Thinkful realized that upfront costs and sacrifices were a barrier to student enrollment and success. As a result of such financial worries, a large number of talented and driven Americans were unable to take a leap for their careers.
In 2018, Thinkful found that 95% of potential students surveyed couldn’t enroll because of financial difficulties. The survey highlighted an unfortunate cycle in America—education brings people out of financial trouble, but people with financial troubles can’t afford education.
Through successful pilot programs in Atlanta, Portland, and Salt Lake City, Thinkful determined that a Living Stipend can break this decades-old cycle. When combined with an Income Share Agreement, living stipends effectively remove the financial barrier and allow students to pursue the education needed to advance their careers.
How Does Thinkful’s Living Stipend Work?
For many people, quitting a full-time job isn’t an option—something Thinkful’s Living Stipend aims to change. Thinkful’s new Living Stipend is available to highly motivated students without the financial means to commit to the programs. Students enrolled in the full-time Engineering Immersive or Data Science Immersion programs will need to make a full-time commitment. With access to a living stipend from Thinkful, students will have the opportunity to commit more of their time to the program and reduce or eliminate the financial barrier.
Thinkful’s living stipend is an addition to its Income Share Agreement. Together, these two initiatives work to transfer the risk of education to the school and away from the student. Such a strategy is especially important in a time of student loan crisis when Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt.
Thinkful Living Stipend + Income Share Agreement
Income Share Agreements offer an alternative to the loan system. Unlike student loans, Income Share Agreements don’t demand payment when students lack the means to pay. Students who opt for Thinkful’s living stipend and Income Share Agreement pay no tuition until they graduate and land a full-time job. After the hard work pays off, students agree to pay 15% of their pre-tax income for four years up to a maximum of $40,000. Once either condition is met, all payments are finished.
Now here’s where living stipends come in—students who can’t afford the course will receive an additional $1,500 per month while enrolled in the course and pay it back through the Income Share Agreement term. With a little bit of cash injection, students can set aside financial worries and focus on their education and job search. Students only begin paying once they have the means to do so.
Where is the Living Stipend Offered?
Currently, Thinkful’s Living Stipend is available in the following cities:
- Los Angeles
- Salt Lake City
- San Diego
- Washington, D.C.
It will soon be available in Houston, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and San Francisco. Over the next year, Thinkful hopes to reach hundreds of students who would otherwise be unable to pursue careers in tech.
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How Can You Apply for Thinkful’s Living Stipend?
Students who want to apply will need to inquire with an admissions advisor during the application process. Applicants will then be asked to complete a credit check with Leif to determine eligibility. If applicants meet the requirements, they will then undergo the standard technical examination, which all students must take. This process, while rigorous, is beginner-friendly and designed to assess if a potential student will be a good fit for Thinkful’s program. If the team decides favorably, they will extend a formal invitation to join the Engineering Immersion or Data Science Immersion program at Thinkful.
Thinkful and the Future of Further Education
Thinkful has tapped into something vitally important in today’s economic and educational climate. They’ve realized that there is an incredible desire among many Americans to break into the thriving tech job market through alternative education programs, but many are blocked from doing so by financial concerns. That’s what makes Thinkful’s Living Stipend so promising: it extends opportunity to those students who have the drive and passion to make their mark in tech, but need the financial foundation to make it happen.