PayPal co-creator Max Levchin brought you Affirm, a money lending service. Now, the company wants to help programmers-to-be pay for “‘the Harvard’ of coding bootcamps.”
Starting today, Affirm will offer financing for Hack Reactor students, allowing them to pay for their studies over the course of up to 18 months. The interest rates range between 6 and 20 percent APR.
This is not the first time Affirm has reached out to the tech-student population. Earlier this year, Affirm launched partnerships with short-term educational institutions General Assembly, Bloc, Kaplan’s Dev Bootcamp, and Metis to offer students access to a similar financing program.
Both Hack Reactor and Affirm clearly have a thing for tech-oriented millennials. The coding school says it has a “connection” with digital-natives. Of course, Affirm also benefits from targeting those who have poor credit scores but still want to pay for things they may not be able to afford — AKA people in their 20s and 30s.
The move towards this demographic comes as no surprise. Camps and certificate programs rarely qualify for government financial aid, but they have become increasingly popular due to high demand for programmers, especially in California.
Hack Reactor’s CEO Anthony Phillips knows this. He told VentureBeat that the demand for Hack Reactor’s courses has been rising, but since the company had to self-finance students’ tuition, many potential students were denied access to classes because they weren’t able to pay.
“We are educators rather than financial people,” Phillips said. “This is a need-blind financing system… [and now] this allows us to have leverage with everyone.”
Beyond education, Affirm advertises its services as a way to splurge on luxurious items like a Casper mattress for $850 and Louis Vuitton limited edition Speedy Satchel for $2,775 — or monthly payments of $255 — on Tradesy.com.
Coding school — and a new set of invisible teeth aligners — are just one click away.
“The average full-time programming bootcamp in the U.S. costs $9,900 with some charging up to $20,000 in tuition,” according to Course Report. This raises questions as to how a low-income recent graduate can pay back the loan in such a short period of time.
The lending alternative does not rely completely on credit scores to determine who gets financing. Edward Lin, Affirm’s head of marketing, explained that most of the financing decisions are based on applicants “public available data” because this data shows a more accurate track record than credit scores. He declined to be specific as to what kind of data he was referring to.
Levchin’s company is exploring additional educational programs for the future.
“Outside of coding bootcamps, we are evaluating ways to provide financing for vocational programs focused on topics like digital marketing, design, health and fitness, data science, CPA preparation, and even stock trading,” Lin told VB. “We’ll consider financing any educational courses that can help individuals move their careers in the right direction.”
For Hack Reactor’s CEO, Affirm “is exactly what [it] needed to continue,” since government subsidies and bank loans did not appear to be coming any time soon to offbeat technology educators.