Thinkful is now offering Deferred Tuition (which can also cover living expenses!) to eligible students in the US. We caught up with Erin Thompson from Thinkful to learn how this new plan creates more accessibility to Thinkful’s immersive bootcamps. Erin breaks down the differences between Deferred Tuition and an Income Share Agreement (ISA), what the Living Expenses portion of the program actually covers, plus the kinds of career support Deferred Tuition students can expect. Trying to decide between upfront tuition vs ISA vs deferred tuition plans? We cover that too!
Why has Thinkful decided to offer Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses now?
At Thinkful, we’re committed to helping adult learners find a long-term career that inspires them and get the education they need to pursue it. For many, financial obstacles make that goal really difficult to achieve. The challenges of the past year have left an exceptionally high number of would-be students without work. These prospective students have the desire (and the time) to find a new career, so it was more important than ever for us to expand our student-friendly payment options.
What sets Thinkful’s Deferred Tuition program apart from other funding options?
Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses is a huge step forward in accessibility for our students. With this plan, students can start learning with $0 upfront, and pay us only when they’re hired into a qualifying position. While they learn full-time, they have the added benefit of receiving a loan of $1,500 per month to help pay the bills. This payment plan allows Thinkful students to devote their energy to learning a new skill set and breaking into a new field without the burden of worrying how they’ll cover their basic expenses.
Thinkful also offers an Income Share Agreement — How is the Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses program different?
Both Income Share Agreements and Deferred Tuition allow students to enroll and pay $0 upfront. They can take the entire program and delay any repayment until they get a qualifying job.The biggest difference is that, with an ISA, the amount the student is required to repay is dependent upon how much they end up making in their job. This makes the ISA payments fairly unpredictable.
With Deferred Tuition, payments are a set monthly amount and not tied to income. Many students prefer this model as it provides consistency and ease in planning. If a student doesn't get hired in a position that pays at least $40,000 a year, they don’t have to pay back their tuition cost thanks to our Tuition Refund Guarantee.
What does Living Expenses cover?
The Living Expenses loan can be used to cover essentials like rent/mortgage, groceries, child care, transportation, and more. It cannot be used to pay outstanding debt or to cover non-essential expenses like entertainment. For many students who commit to their education full-time, we believe the Living Expenses loan will ease financial stress and allow them to focus their energy on their new career.
Can students opt to receive only Deferred Tuition and not the Living Expenses portion of this program?
Yes, students can apply for a Deferred Tuition loan without Living Expenses. Stand alone Deferred Tuition loans are actually available for all of our programs, both full-time and part-time.
Will bootcamp graduates also pay back the Living Expenses they were loaned through the Deferred Tuition program?
Bootcamp graduates will pay back the Living Expenses loan in monthly payments once they receive a qualifying job. They will have a period of 3 months to pay back the loan principal plus any accrued interest.
Is there an ideal student for Thinkful’s Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses program?
This payment plan is ideal for students who need extra flexibility in paying for tuition and in staying on top of bills. We know how challenging it can be to stay committed to a full-time education while balancing work and staying on top of your finances. By providing students with monthly disbursements to cover basic expenses, we’re allowing them to step away from the stress of juggling school and part-time jobs so they can put all their energy into preparing for a new career.
The Deferred Tuition portion of this option makes Thinkful programs more accessible to students who might not have the funds available to invest in their education right away. They can start preparing for a new career without spending a dollar, and won’t pay anything until they’re making over $40k per year.
What are the eligibility requirements for Thinkful’s Deferred Tuition program?
Deferred Tuition is open to students living anywhere in the US! This is another advantage of Deferred Tuition over an Income Share Agreement, which is limited to students living within an hour of approved major cities.
To qualify for Deferred Tuition, a student must be at least 18 years of age and a US citizen or green card holder. They must also be able to pass an employment background check and will need to be approved for the loan through our financing partner. As long as those basic criteria are met, anyone who’s motivated to learn and change careers can take advantage of Deferred Tuition.
Which Thinkful programs are Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses available for?
Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses are available for students enrolling in any of our full-time courses (Data Analytics, UX/UI Design, Software Engineering, and Technical Project Management).
Is the admissions process different for someone applying for the Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses versus someone who is paying upfront tuition?
The only difference in the admissions process is that the student will need to apply for the Deferred Tuition loan and the Living Expenses loan with our financing partner, Ascent Funding. They will be able to complete enrollment once approved for these loans.
What kinds of career support can Deferred Tuition students expect?
Thinkful’s Deferred Tuition students get the same comprehensive career support that all our students get. Career services include tailored lists of jobs to apply for, mock interviews, networking support, professional resume reviews, workshops, and personal Q&As. We also guide students through the job offer and salary negotiation phase. All students have access to professional career coaching for 6 months after they graduate.
What kinds of jobs and salaries do Thinkful grads typically get?
The average salary of Thinkful graduates varies by course. Every 6 months, we analyze graduation and hired rates and publish those outcomes findings on our website. On average, our students earn an extra $17k per year after graduating.
What happens if a student isn’t able to find a job after graduation or lands a job that pays under $40K/year?
Students who enroll with Deferred Tuition + Living Expenses can be eligible for Thinkful’s Tuition Refund Guarantee. If they satisfy certain program and career search requirements and do not find a qualifying job in 6 months, they can get a full tuition refund. The refund guarantee will only apply to the tuition portion of the loan. Students will still need to repay the Living Expenses loan.
What is your advice for students choosing between Deferred Tuition and a standard loan?
My advice is to assess the level of flexibility they really need and what that is worth to them. Our Deferred Tuition loans do carry a slightly higher interest rate because of the flexibility they provide, so in many cases, a traditional loan will cost less overall. Students who do not have a stable income at the time they enroll may find that the Deferred Tuition option offers significantly less stress and allows them to focus on learning.
Find out more and read Thinkful reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Thinkful.
Jess Feldman is the Content Manager at Course Report. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education — She loves learning and sharing insights about tech bootcamps and career changes with the Course Report community. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire and lives in southern Maine.
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