[UPDATED] Thinkful’s New ‘Living Stipend’ Raises The Bar For Coding Bootcamps In Minnesota

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Updated 4/17/2019 9:00am CST: Thinkful announced today that a new ‘living stipend’ option is available for students in Minneapolis to receive $1,500/mo for 5 months & pay no tuition until they land an industry job, “then pay 15% of income for 4 years – never pay unless earning at least $40,000, and never pay more than $40,000 back.”

Original 3/13/19 Titled “Thinkful’s Coding Bootcamp Expands Reach Into Minnesota Market”

NYC headquartered Thinkful has landed in Minnesota to address the never-ending demand for students of industry by way of coding bootcamp.

“We exist to make it faster and easier for people who decide they want a job in technology to create a career in technology,” says CEO Darrell Silver of the Thinkful cause.

Thinkful is establishing itself within the Minnesota tech community at a steady pace to deliver their educational curriculum geared towards students of software (javascript, jquery, react/angular, node), data science, and product design. Their hybrid VC-backed model ($16m) combines what is largely a remote online learning environment with regular offline group meetups happening about twice per week at various venues around the Twin Cities.

Thinkful quietly rolled out in the Twin Cities about six months ago and Silver says 28 Minnesota students have enrolled so far, while about a dozen local educators have signed on to assist.  In addition, they have a remote team of 500+ instructors who assist with curriculum nationwide, many of which become support coaches.

A key differentiator of Thinkful’s approach is their pairing of a students with a 1:1 mentor for personalized attention over the span of their learning curve.

He cites two local companies by name, Bleachr and BestBuy, as examples of local companies who have hired developers via Thinkful.  Overall, Thinkful claims 90% of those who follow the engineering immersion path will gain industry employment following their course, while the average salary increase for grads is ~$20k.

Because of their online delivery model, Thinkful’s coding classes can be flexible; there’s part time nights & weekends, a self-paced path, and full time immersion (5 months) – depending on how much support and time the student desires. Pricing for Thinkful ranges between $9k-$14k and Silver says that students can pay up front, month to month, or opt for deferred payment as a fixed percentage of future income (15% of income for 3 years so long as job is >$50k with a 2x tuition cap).

As it relates to Minnesota, Thinkful intends to take a closer look at which languages are more/less in demand locally and adjust curriculum accordingly over time. Additionally, he suggests a corporate partnership with Thinkful may appeal to larger companies seeking to beef up their recruiting pipelines at scale by outsourcing technical training that’s tailored to more specialized skill sets.

Details re. “Living Stipend”:

THINKFUL OVERVIEW

  • What is Thinkful: Thinkful is a new type of school that brings high-growth tech careers to ambitious people everywhere. The company provides 1-on-1 learning through its network of industry experts, hiring partners, and online platform to deliver a structured and flexible education. Thinkful offers programs in web development, product design, and data science, with in-person communities in up-and-coming tech hubs around the U.S.

  • Thinkful’s Mission: “One live changed every day,” through skills based learning and career placement.

LIVING STIPEND OVERVIEW

  • What is it: Students pay no tuition until they land a great job, then pay 15% of your income for 4 years. Students never pay unless you’re making at least $40,000, and never pay more than $40,000.

  • How Thinkful’s Living Stipend is different than our other ISA option: In addition to no tuition until after you get a job, you’ll also receive a monthly $1,500 stipend each of the five months you’re enrolled in Engineering Immersion. You can use this stipend to cover things like rent/mortgage, food, and more, so that you can focus fully on learning.

  • Demand: In our pilot program, we had more than 300 applicants for two available spots, demonstrating a huge need among potential students for some form of financial support to pursue a new career.

INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

  • Financial difficulties have long prevented talented, driven professionals from advancing their careers. And there’s a huge need to expand access for new careers.

  • With a $1.5 million national student debt crisis, finances should never be a barrier to pursuing a new career or education. With the living stipend, Thinkful is making a long-term investment in our students by providing a debt-free alternative path where they pay when they land a job.

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