If a program has a solid return on investment—the placement rate is strong, as is the average graduate starting salary—but you don’t have the money to pay for it, how and where do you start?
Knowing Where You Stand
First, knowledge is power, and it’s important to know the options you have available. The first place to start is with your FICO credit score. FICO is a score that comes from the three credit bureaus:
You are entitled to a free copy of your FICO report from each bureau every year. Some credit card providers such as Chase, American Express, and Discover also provide their customers with their current credit score. It’s definitely worth getting your reports, reviewing them for errors, and submitting any issues back for correction to the individual bureau.
You can also speed up that process by using a mobile app like Credit Karma. This and other sites can provide a combined score based on all three credit reporting companies. They are free to use (and make their money by referring products like credit cards to their users). In some cases, if you don’t have any credit history, you’ll need to mail in some documents to get the process started.
Building Your Credit History
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a credit history. Managing your own financial track record is in your hands, and building your credit is the first step.
None of our third party funders provide their scoring methods or details to us or our students who apply for loans, but most people with a credit score above 650 can pick and choose from third party funding options.
Climb Credit, one of our student loan providers, uses a “soft credit pull” of your credit to get an earlier estimate for whether you’ll be approved for a loan. This speeds up the process and you can know your options sooner. If you decide to get a loan from Climb Credit, they then do a “hard query” on your credit. Learn More »
Paying Off Your Loans
As you decide if third party financing is a good option for you, build out a plan on how you will repay the loan. Keep in mind that:
- Interest accrues until your course is complete. This means lenders can charge interest during the program, which will be added on top of your principal (the amount you borrowed).
- Payments start after you finish the program While most lenders in the industry (and all of the lenders we work with) defer payments until after you’ve graduated, some even provide a grace period to allow you to look for a job before starting payments.
- Some funding partners have an optional stipend So that you can fully concentrate on your studies, explore which lenders also offer options for a housing or living stipend.
As with all loans, read the details before you sign off on a contract of any kind. To provide our students with the best options available, we only partner with companies that had favorable rates (below credit cards).