We get it. Attending Thinkful to change your career is a huge undertaking, but with the right support systems in place, it can be done. After researching the market for trends in financial accessibility, our Living Stipend was created to give students plenty of support to help them succeed on their journey.
Thinkful’s Product Marketing Manager, Noel Duarte, gives an inside perspective on why the Living Stipend was created, and how it helps more students gain access to education.
What, in layman’s terms, is a Living Stipend?
At its core, Thinkful's Living Stipend is a payment plan focused on increasing accessibility. It builds on our existing Income Share Agreement plan where students pay no upfront tuition and goes beyond, providing students with a monthly stipend to help with costs like housing, groceries, and more while they study full-time through our immersive programs.
Once a student graduates and begins working full-time in tech, they pay back the cost of tuition + the stipend they received as a percentage of their income for a set period of time. The terms of this repayment period vary from program to program, but are structured in a way that's meant to limit the impact to a student's paycheck.
How does our Living Stipend make it easier for people to join the world’s next workforce?
We know from thousands of conversations with potential students that finances remain one of the biggest blockers to pursuing a career in tech. By providing a stipend to students, we hope to remove some barriers. For many students, receiving a stipend while completing our programs means they can focus full-time on starting a new high-growth career in tech while also paying the bills.
What are the main goals for the Living Stipend?
Our goal with this initiative is to make tech education more accessible. This means reaching people throughout the United States, both in well-established tech hubs and in up-and-coming cities. We're actively working on making this option available in even more cities throughout the country. In parallel, we're also working on bringing down costs for students wherever possible. There's a lot of work to be done on both fronts.
Why does Thinkful offer a Living Stipend as compared to more scholarships or discounts?
Discounts and scholarships can be limited in covering the cost of tuition for many people. Through an Income Share Agreement + monthly stipend we can support students financially while they focus on training, and do so at a scale that reaches all potential students.
How was the stipend of $1500 a month determined?
We determined the stipend amount by conducting hundreds of research interviews with potential students. Our goal is to provide a high-enough stipend amount that students can use to meaningfully help with their bills while also minimizing the impact that reimbursing the stipend will have down the line.
What kind of costs can it cover? What can’t it be used for?
The stipend can be used to cover essentials like rent/mortgage, groceries, child care, transportation, and more. In the past, students have also used the stipend to cover the cost of a new laptop, which is a key investment.The stipend cannot be used to pay outstanding debt or to cover non-essential expenses like entertainment.
Why did you choose Salt Lake City as the first city to launch the Living Stipend?
We chose Salt Lake City for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it was for the thriving tech industry, with a low cost-of-living index in comparison to the rest of the United States, plus we had an existing presence there. We wanted to first introduce the Living Stipend to a city that is representative of the rest of the United States and Salt Lake City had just the right combination of factors.
What cities is the Living Stipend currently offered in?
We currently offer Living Stipend in Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Raleigh, NC; Tampa, FL; Salt Lake City, UT; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Washington D.C.
What tips do you have for prospective students interested in Thinkful, but unsure about the financial commitment?
The best advice we can offer is to first consider if a career in tech is right for you. If you're new to coding or design, take some time to learn the basics through free online resources. This way you'll know if this is something you not only enjoy, but you'll love doing for a living.
Once you've decided on a career in tech, check out our programs and see which one might work for you and your schedule. If one of our immersive programs is the best fit, consider the Living Stipend along with all of our payment plans. Every student will have unique financial circumstances. While the stipend might be right for some, it might not be right for others.
What should students interested in the Living Stipend consider before making the agreement?
Make sure you clearly understand the way our Income Share Agreements work. Understand that while you'll pay no tuition upfront, you'll still be responsible for paying back the cost of tuition + stipend once you begin working full-time. If you do not need the stipend, perhaps consider the tuition-only Income Share Agreement or another payment plan.
If you have questions about whether our Living Stipend is right for you, you can always discuss the plan's details with our Admissions Counselors.
Why are you proud to be building the world’s next workforce with Thinkful?
I believe access to education is a fundamental right and that finances should never prevent someone from bettering their careers.
I know from first-hand experience that affording education isn’t easy. Our goal is to make education more affordable, more accessible, and more outcomes-driven. If we do that, we truly can build the world’s next workforce.
Learn more about how we’re here for your success. See how we work.
Have more questions? Speak to one of our advisors.
Art by Jay Quercia and Rachel Knobloch.