Deferred Tuition and ISAs: A SwitchUp Guide

By The SwitchUp Team | Updated 10/31/2023

Software engineering and other types of bootcamps can be costly. Bootcamp providers understand that many people simply can't afford to pay the full tuition fee right up front. They also appreciate that some prospective students may be reluctant to enroll without some sort of guarantee that they'll graduate with marketable skills that will lead to a tech job. To address these issues, schools may offer free coding courses to give you a taste of what you'll learn, and they may also offer scholarships and accept GI Bill® benefits from veterans returning to school. 

Additionally, many bootcamp schools offer payment plans that allow you to postpone paying your tuition fees until after you've completed the course and possibly found a job. The two most common tuition options are deferred tuition and income-share agreements (ISAs). Make sure you understand the pros and cons of these payment plans before signing on the dotted line.

What Is Deferred Tuition?

On a deferred tuition payment plan, you'll agree to start making monthly payments at some point after completing the bootcamp. This could be immediately after graduation, a few months later, or whenever you find a job that meets an agreed-upon minimum salary, usually $40,000 a year. The number of months that you'll be required to pay varies depending on the tuition amount and school.

Although this type of payment plan may allow you to obtain essential training, you should keep in mind that deferred tuition coding bootcamps often cost more than if you'd paid in full at the beginning. In fact, you could pay as much as one and a half times the original tuition fee. Much like a student loan, however, a deferred tuition payment plan may be worth it if it gets you to your career goal.

What Are Income-Share Agreements?

Income-share agreements are similar to deferred tuition plans in that they allow you to postpone payments until after you've finished the bootcamp. However, rather than paying monthly installments based on the bootcamp tuition fee, with ISAs, your monthly installments are a percentage of your income. 

Generally speaking, ISA payments kick in as soon as you find a job — any job, not necessarily a tech job — that meets a salary threshold. This threshold may be $40,000, but some schools have set theirs at $50,000 or higher. Your monthly payments may be as much as 15% of your income, and the amount may be adjusted as your salary increases. The number of months you'll need to pay is often 36-48 months.

Even though ISA coding bootcamps frequently set caps on either the number of payments or the total amount to be paid, you can see how using an ISA could lead to a much higher cost than the original tuition fee. Here again, however, an ISA bootcamp can be a viable option to pay for the training you need.

Why Choose Deferred Tuition or ISAs?

For many prospective students, ISA and deferred tuition coding bootcamps can open doors to a new career that would otherwise remain closed. These alternative tuition options are ideal for those who don't have enough money in savings to pay tuition up front, don't qualify for a personal loan, or simply have other financial obligations that prevent them from paying the tuition fee in full. Alternative payment plans may allow you to begin your journey for free or with a nominal deposit.

Another benefit to postponing payment, especially if you choose an income-share agreement bootcamp, is that the schools become highly motivated to assist you in landing a job after graduation. Like coding bootcamps that offer job guarantees, ISA bootcamp providers don't get paid until you go to work, preferably in a relevant tech job like software engineer or web developer. It's also in their best interest to help you get the highest salary possible. 

Also, some bootcamps that offer deferred tuition or ISAs have clauses that release you from paying off your debt if you can't find a job in a certain amount of time, usually 12-18 months. 

Learn more about payment options with our guide to paying for your coding bootcamp.

Read the Fine Print

Although deferred tuition and ISA bootcamps offer a significant advantage, there are some potential drawbacks as well. Perhaps the most important consideration is the higher amount you'll probably end up paying by deferring tuition or entering into an ISA. You may want to create a budget to better understand how one of these options could affect your future finances.

Deferred tuition ROI is a bit easier to calculate than ISA ROI. Deferred tuition bootcamps generally spell out exactly how much interest they may charge, how many payments you'll make, and the total amount you'll pay. You can then evaluate this option in light of your income potential and other financial circumstances. ISA ROI is a bit more challenging because you don't know what the future income of your new job will be.

As you can see, it's essential for you to thoroughly understand each school's terms before you enroll. If you're not clear on the details of each payment plan, you can contact the school to discuss your options prior to signing a contract. Some of the questions you may want to ask include:

  • Do I need to be earning a certain amount before I start repayment? 
  • Will my payment amounts increase if I get a raise?
  • Are payments delayed until I find a full-time position in the tech industry, or do they begin if I find any job, including freelance or contract work?
  • Is the repayment for a set amount or a set period of time? What caps have been established?
  • If I don't land a full-time position within a certain period of time, will the fees be waived? 
  • What happens if I don't complete the bootcamp program?

Do I need to qualify and apply for a loan with the coding bootcamp's loan partner?

Finally, remember that these are not your only options. If you have good credit, you may qualify for a personal loan that offers better repayment options than either of these payment plans. Many schools also have a financial lender partner, such as Ascent or Climb, that is willing to make personal loans for bootcamp tuition.

Wondering which bootcamps are right for your needs? Review our ranked list of the best coding bootcamps.

Coding Bootcamps with Deferred Tuition or Income-Share Agreements

App Academy

App Academy offers both deferred tuition and income-share agreements to students attending their software engineering, web development, and AI bootcamps. 

The Fine Print: Under App Academy's pricing structure, deferred tuition is available for California and New York residents only. Residents of all states but California are eligible for ISAs, and payments kick in when you find a job that pays at least $50,000. Your monthly payments will then be 15% of your income for up to 36 months.

Coder Foundry

Coder Foundry allows students to use its Launchpad Program ISA to pay for a bootcamp covering Microsoft .Net, SQL, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and more. 

The Fine Print: If you opt for the Launchpad Program, you can postpone making monthly payments for your bootcamp until you've found a job with a salary of at least $40,000. You'll be required to pay 15% of your income for no more than 36 months. 

General Assembly

General Assembly features an ISA called the Catalyst ISL Program. This is for students who want to enroll in online and in-person courses on data analytics, data science, software engineering, and user experience design. 

The Fine Print: With the Catalyst ISL Program, you'll be required to start making monthly payments after you secure a job with a minimum salary of $40,000. You'll then pay 1.6%-10% of your monthly income over 48 months, although there is a cap of one and a half times the cost of your tuition.

Hackbright Academy

At Hackbright Academy, students can take advantage of an ISA program to pay for online software engineering courses that cover Python, JavaScript, Flask, and others.

The Fine Print: The Hackbright ISA program funded by Stride Funding covers the full cost of the program. If accepted, you will not have to start making monthly payments until you have found a job with a salary of at least $50,000. Your rate may go as high as 9%, and payments may be spread over 36-72 months.

Holberton School

Holberton School features an ISA for bootcamps in front-end, back-end, and full-stack development, as well as machine learning, algorithms, and augmented and virtual reality.

The Fine Print: In the U.S., Holberton School's ISA program allows students to postpone monthly payments until they have secured a job with a salary of at least $40,000. This ISA program also includes an $85,000 cap on the total repayment amount and a 42-month cap on the duration of the payments

Insight Fellows Program

Among Insight Fellow's tuition options is an ISA that can be used to pay for courses in data engineering, data science, devops engineering, artificial intelligence, and more. 

The Fine Print: With this ISA program, you don't start paying for your bootcamp until you've landed a job earning at least $90,000. Your 24 monthly installments will be 12% of your income. If you don't find a relevant job that makes at least $90,000 within six months of graduation, you're exempt from your financial commitment.

Launch School

Launch School's pricing structure is based on the number of months you're in the program. You can take 8-16 months to complete the core courses and 4-7 months to finish the final capstone course, and you can use an ISA program to defer payment. 

The Fine Print: If you decide to defer tuition on your Launch School tuition until you've started a job that pays at least $60,000 per year, the percentage of your income that you'll pay each month will be based on your initial salary. 


Whether you decide to study web development, data science, or UX design, you can defer payment on the tuition for your LearningFuze bootcamp.

The Fine Print: Among LearningFuze's payment options is deferred tuition, which allows you to postpone payment until you find employment. However, this option is not available to residents of California.


Nucamp offers a unique fair student agreement for those who want to study web development fundamentals, front-end web and mobile development, full-stack web and mobile development, or backend devops with SQL and Python.

The Fine Print: Nucamp's fair student agreement allows you to defer payment until after you graduate. Your monthly payments may be as low as $99 for 12, 18, 24, 36, or 48 months. You're not required to pay anything if you don't graduate from your bootcamp. 

Rithm School

Rithm School features an ISA that can be used to pay for its software engineering bootcamps.

The Fine Print: After paying a $3,000 deposit, Rithm School's ISA program allows you to borrow $2,500-$21,000 to pay the balance of your tuition. Once you've found a job making at least $40,000, you'll make monthly payments of 1.2-9.5% of your salary for either 48 months or until you've paid one and a half times the amount you initially borrowed.

Skill Distillery

At Skill Distillery, you can opt for an ISA to pay for either a web development bootcamp or a full stack web development bootcamp. 

The Fine Print: Your monthly ISA payments will begin when you find a job earning $50,000 a year. Your obligation is complete when you've either made 36-48 payments, paid a total of $31,920, or have accumulated 60 months of deferment and repayment.


Springboard offers bootcamps in UI/UX design, software engineering, data analytics, data science, and more, and you can defer tuition if needed.

The Fine Print: With Springboard's payment options, you'll make an initial deposit but then defer paying the balance owed until after you've found a job. You'll then make monthly payments with interest for up to 36 months or $21,840, whichever comes first.


Thinkful offers both a deferred tuition program and an ISA for students who want to enroll in online courses in coding, data science, UX design, and digital marketing.

The Fine Print: By opting for either deferred tuition or an ISA, you won't be required to start making payments until you've secured a paid position. Deferred tuition payments include 11.5% interest and last for 36 months. ISA payment terms vary depending on several factors.

V School

At V School, you can use an ISA to pay for any one of three fully online bootcamps in web development, experience design, or cybersecurity.

The Fine Print: V School's ISA program allows you to defer payments until you've found a job after graduation.

Deferred Tuition and ISA FAQs

Is Deferred Tuition Worth It?

Yes, for some people, deferred tuition is definitely worth it. A deferred tuition bootcamp may be the best choice for you if you can't afford to pay the full tuition cost upfront and can't qualify for a personal loan. Although you may ultimately pay more for your bootcamp than the original tuition fee, it may be the best way to acquire new skills and get started on a tech career.

How Do ISAs Work?

Like deferred tuition, an income-share agreement enables you to postpone paying for your bootcamp until after you've completed the course. If you agree to an ISA, you'll be required to start making payments as soon as you land a job with a minimum salary, such as $40,000. Your monthly payments will be a percentage of your income — as high as 15% — which means that the payment amount could increase as your salary increases. You'll most likely be required to make monthly payments for several years until you've met some kind of cap, such as the total amount paid or the total number of payments.

Are Income-Share Agreements Taxable?

No, income-share agreements are not taxable. Technically, an ISA does not include interest, so the IRS does not consider ISA payments to be tax deductible.

How Do I Get Out of an Income-Share Agreement?

Since an ISA is a legal, binding contract with either a school or its lending partner, you are generally required to pay off your financial obligation by either completing the agreed-upon payments, paying out the full amount of the repayment cap, or making the required number of payments. The exact process should be included in your ISA contract.

However, there may be instances where you feel that the bootcamp school or lender has breached its contractual obligations to you in some way. In this situation, you should consult a consumer protection attorney to determine if you have a case for legally refusing to pay off the ISA. The attorney will let you know what legal recourse you have, if any, and can assist you in terminating the contract.

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