People who are looking to join the workforce today are presented with a sad and unfortunate catch twenty-two. In order to get a high paying job, you will most likely have to pay for an expensive degree to get one. Many are not lucky enough to shell out the cash for these degrees upfront and as a result won’t really be able to enjoy the benefits of their salaries since they are shackled by their large student loan payments each month. But the real question is, what if you spend all of this money on a degree only to find out that the amazing job you have been working hard to get is not waiting for you after college? Shouldn’t schools be held accountable as to whether or not they are providing their students with the skills they need to get well-paying jobs?
This issue is exactly what the New York Code and Design Academy (NYCDA) is trying address with their brand new Income Share Agreement (ISA) plan. With this plan, students of the academy will not have to pay back their tuition until they are hired at a job that pays them a $40k yearly salary. The school's founder and CEO, Jeremy Snepar, believes that this approach will help to make their programs more obtainable for students who may not have the means otherwise. “When we got started it was really a mission about accessibility and teaching the world to code,” he explains, “while I think we’ve done an amazing job educating thousands of people since, we don't accept title four and there have been hundreds of really talented people every year who are just left on the sideline because they can’t find financing for our programs.”
With coding and engineering positions paying on the higher scale of most jobs available these days, Snepar believes that NYCDA graduates will have no problem finding jobs that will meet the program's criteria. It’s a bold pledge, but Snepar is willing to bet on his school’s reputation to deliver. “This new model is going to offer more students access to education and a guaranteed return on their investment,” he says “essentially what we’re saying to our students is, give coding a try. If we don't do our job, and we’re not able to give you the skills you need to go get you a job that pays you more than $40k a year, then you do not owe us tuition.”
By holding the school accountable for the education each student receives, students will not have to settle for the first jobs they find in order to keep their lenders at bay. They can take their time and find relevant fulfilling positions in the tech world. “There are millions of tech jobs going unfilled every year and thousands and thousands of students who have the passion, drive, and intellect,” Snepar says, “all they need is some skills to get these jobs!”
NYCDA has several locations all over the country and even one campus abroad in Amsterdam. While the ISA program is still waiting for approval in some states, students in both Philadelphia and Salt Lake City can enjoy the perks of this plan right now. So if you are interested in getting into coding for a living but are low on cash, this program might be right for you!