Tech Education That Pays, Or You Don’t

By Jonathan Takiff
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A computer-coding bootcamp is turning the tables on how to learn and pay for an education and get a job.

PHILADELPHIA

With tuitions ever rising and student debt exploding to $1.45 trillion, there has been increased pressure on schools to demonstrate their value based on their success in placing graduates in good-paying jobs.

A for-profit computer-coding boot camp in Philadelphia, the local branch of the New York Code and Design Academy, has taken the bull by the horns. In October, it began offering students a you-can’t-lose financing promise called an income share agreement.

“An ISA puts the burden back on the school to do its job, to turn out skilled graduates who can apply what they’ve learned to actually make a living,” said school founder and CEO Jeremy Snepar. “When, and only when, you start to make a minimum salary of $40,000, you start to pay us back, with 8 percent taken out of your salary.”

The payback clock continues to run for 48 months maximum, or until the student has returned just what was borrowed with no interest, whichever comes first. “We’re saying, if you don’t get a fair return on your investment, then we haven’t done our job and you shouldn’t owe us anything,” Snepar said.

Clearly, the odds are running in Snepar’s favor and those of his backing group, Strayer Education, which acquired all six outposts (New York, Jersey City, Philadelphia, Washington, Salt Lake City, and Amsterdam) of New York Code and Design Academy in January 2016 and hosts the Philly branch at 1601 Cherry St.

The ISA is being offered to students enrolled in the Philadelphia and Salt Lake City branches of NYCDA’s web development intensive program, a 12-week, early morning-to-late night deep dive into coding languages, “Full Stack” website construction, and UI (User Interface) design that carries a $15,000 price tag.

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