Worried about paying for a bootcamp? Thinkful's new ISA might help!
One of the keys to Thinkful’s approach over the years has been to align their success with student outcomes. Their launch of Income Share Agreements in the fall of 2017 as well as their most recent announcement of a $10M fundraise with fintech organization, Leif, to invest in over 700 future students are further proof the company is committed to students success.
With only a handful of school currently offering ISAs, Thinkful is now leading the industry in financing options for students.
We’ve got Bhaumik Patel from Thinkful, the Head of Full Time Web Development Bootcamp, joining us for an interview. Together, we’ll go into detail about ISAs, whether they’re right for you, and how to compare such plans to traditional tuition.
Why did you launch Income Share Agreements? How does it work?
It’s about risk-sharing and building trust. Any time you decide to invest in a career change, you’re taking a risk. In the past, you’d pay tuition to a school, graduate, and then work to get a job. If you didn’t get hired, you’d pay the price, not the school… but the school is also responsible.
Schools should be responsible for their students’ outcomes, though. To that end, Thinkful has already been offering a job guarantee to students in select cities — get hired as a developer within 6 months or you get your tuition back — so Income Share Agreements are the natural next step.
Now, students who can’t afford to pay upfront tuition have an option to change their careers without taking on debt. You don’t pay tuition until you get a job.
Here’s the gist of it: students agree to pay 10-15% of their income over 3 years.
What if you don’t end up making a lot of money after graduating? Or if you don’t get a job?
This is where the ISA really shines. You only pay tuition based on your income (meaning: after you get hired), so you’re protected. Thinkful’s ISA has an income ‘floor’ — for each month that your annual income is under $40,000, you don’t have to pay anything.
In other words, the school is accountable if you don’t get the results you’re looking for.
On the other hand, if you end up making way more than you were anticipating (great!), Thinkful’s ISA also has an income ‘ceiling’ that caps your payments, so you don’t end up making huge payments.
When can prospective Thinkful students start funding their education with ISAs?
Here’s the exciting news: Our very first ISA students will be starting on Monday in Chicago, Austin, and DC. So, the answer is right now! If you’re a student looking to get started, you can now enroll in Full Time Web Development Bootcamp with an Income Share Agreement.
What do students think of this so far?
We’ve heard a lot of excitement. Of course, the students who have already enrolled with an ISA are feeling pretty positive about the plan. Several students have told me that they simply would not have been able to attend a bootcamp for years if something like this didn’t exist. They also mentioned feeling more confident in their own success, since the ISA means we’re willing to stand behind the results of our education.
In general, the reaction has been very positive.
Income Share Agreements have been around for a while, but only in a few select places. What makes this one important?
In short, this ISA is available in more places than any other. Since students can take the course online or in a live classroom, you don’t need to be in a traditional tech hub to fund your new career with an ISA.
Schools in places like San Francisco and New York have done a good job with ISAs, but Thinkful students are from everywhere. When we see graduates landing jobs all across the country, why not find a way to offer them a more accessible payment plan?
Many people want to launch a new career, but not all of them are comfortable paying upfront tuition or taking out a loan. Allowing people all around the country to pay tuition after they get a job is a great way to solve that problem.
Let’s say I’m a prospective student. Why would I enroll using an ISA instead of some other plan?
Two main reasons:
1) You don’t have to pay until you get a job and
2) you have extra assurance that your school is invested in your success.
You can get very granular, though, and make a decision based on your previous professional experience, income levels, and salary expectations. This post about whether Income Share Agreements are right for you is a great place to get started.
Last question: If someone is interested, how do they get started?
You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to help students get started with our prep course and answer any questions about ISAs. Another quick stop is our Bootcamp page, where you can learn more about the program’s structure and apply to get started. If you’re more of a video person, watch this: