Is it time for American students to start learning a second language fluently? Quite a few people would say “yes” — not to learn French or German, but to learn the universal coding languages of website developers everywhere.
Even President Obama has expressed his approval and excitement over “coding bootcamps,” as Wired reported, because they can give students a “ticket into the middle class.” Unlike regional languages, coding languages like HTML and CSS are understood and used around the world; they’re useful in nearly every profession, and they are undoubtedly the building blocks of the future as it becomes digitalized.
But there’s just one problem: these bootcamps cost money. A lot of money.
In fact, according to Wired, the average respectable coding school can charge “upwards of $10,000 and often require people to take an extended period of time off of work.”
Considering that tuition for the average public college cost just over $9,000 in the 2014-2015 academic year, even a young adult with a college savings fund may find it difficult to learn coding. Instead of being inclusive programs for Americans of all socioeconomic groups, it seems that these schools have made it difficult — if not impossible — for poorer Americans to enroll.
Affirm, a lending startup company, hopes to change that. Affirm raised $275 million in funding this past spring, according to Tech Crunch, and it has begun partnering with coding bootcamps in order to offer student loans for those wishing to learn how to code.
The loans are offered with 12-, 15-, or 18-month terms and have interest rates between 6-20%. Similar to traditional student loans, students don’t have to start repaying their debt for the first six months after they take out the loan, making it possible to attend a coding program and find a job before making any payments.
Student loans are traditionally limited to students attending four-year universities, but by modeling the lending service after these loans, a startup company like Affirm can provide similar financial support for a coding program, which may be just as valuable as a traditional college degree.
According to data from Course Report, coding bootcamps are expected to rake in about $170 million this year in revenue and teach more than 16,000 students.