Federal student loans expand to cover coding boot camps

Federal student loans expand to cover coding boot camps

Merit badges for coders. (LA Johnson/NPR)

Starting today, students may be able to use federal loans to pay for some coding boot camps, the immersive web development courses that promise to make students into programming experts in just a few months.

The price tag can be as much as $20,000, but the allure of high paying tech jobs has an estimated 16,000 students this year alone. Enrollment in these programs is soaring, but the hefty cost means camps have been popular mostly among those privileged enough to afford the risk.

They’re unaccredited, but the people behind them say the price is worth it. They say 90 percent or more of graduates are landing jobs. Now, a select group of programs approved by the government will be eligible for federally subsidized loans. While it may only be a few camps at first, it’s a step toward making them more accessible.

What does this all mean? For that, take a look back to the work our own Anya Kamenetz has done on this unconventional form of higher education in the last year. She looked into the “microcredentials” boot camps began offering last October as a way for students to prove their new skills, and then took us into the life of a student enrolled in a camp in December. And last summer, she reported on an option for financing the fast-track programs: high-interest loans from private lenders.

via NPR