HackerYou College of Technology has announced it will offer Income Share Agreements (ISAs) as a payment option to students enrolling in its Web Development Immersive Bootcamp.

The school stated that it is the first in Canada to do so, and hopes its ISA model will bring much-needed talent to southern Ontario’s tech sector. However, one expert says this option is not really necessary, as students may end up paying more than double the standard tuition cost.

Payments are capped at $30,000, which means some graduates could pay 85 percent more than the standard tuition cost.

By launching ISAs, HackerYou is trying to make its vocational training programs more accessible to Canadians who can’t afford to pay for training up front. Students who choose an ISA will only have to pay one dollar up front, or have the option to pay $12,000 CAD up front. Once a graduate is earning $50,000 per year or more, they then pay back 17 percent of their income to HackerYou for two years in order to pay for the tuition.

Payments are capped at $30,000, which means the more successful graduates could pay 85 percent more than the standard tuition cost, more than double what they’d be paying without an ISA. The payments pause if a graduate loses their job or takes maternity or paternity leave. Students are contract-free after five years of payments. The school is also advising students to not make a payment if their income ever drops below $4,166.66 per month.

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During periods when graduates are not working and have no income, they do not have to make payments on their ISA. When they are working, ISA recipients must pay only a percentage of their income towards the obligation.

Some coding schools in the US have similar payment options, such as the Silicon Valley-based online learning startup Lambda School, App Academy, and General Assembly. HackerYou is tapping into its generated profit, in addition to a loan issued by the Business Development Bank of Canada, to manage this offer, according to CBC. Bruce Sellery, a personal finance expert, told CBC this option could be insurance that students don’t actually need. He said students would, in practice, be paying a premium for a safety net.

The HackerYou Web Development Immersive bootcamp program is a full-time, nine-week program for prospective web developers. The program takes 315 hours to complete in-person at the HackerYou campus at Queen St. and Spadina Ave. in downtown Toronto.

The organization is also offering more than 100 need-based scholarships worth $250,000 a year for its part-time beginner courses on web development fundamentals and advanced web development. The school said 30 percent of these scholarships will be allocated for groups currently underrepresented among HackerYou Bootcamp graduates, which include people who identify as black, Aboriginal, Indigenous, First Nations, Metis, or Inuk.

HackerYou officially became one of the first coding bootcamps approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Development to operate as a registered Private Career College in 2016. The ISAs will be available starting today.

Image courtesy HackerYou via Facebook.

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