NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As if getting through college isn’t hard enough, paying off student loans looms as an overwhelming challenge after graduation.

CBS2’s Dick Brennan explains how a career in coding might be paving the way for students – allowing them to wait before they pay.

For students like Rosemary Gonzaga, it’s going to be career number three.

“I’ve been looking to get into the tech field for a while,” Gonzaga said.

The 34-year-old New Jersey woman already has a bachelor’s degree, so she didn’t want to tack on more loans when she enrolled at the App Academy – opting to sign up for its differed tuition payment program instead.

“It’s freed me up to really focus on learning the things I need to learn instead of the finances.”

The Manhattan school is a 12-week intensive boot camp that trains people to code. Like most of these types of institutions, students don’t have to pay the school back until they get a job. Basically, the school doesn’t get paid until the student does.

(Credit: CBS2)

“It opens the door for people who might not have the means to otherwise,” student William Dunn said.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone, who wants to take on the challenge,” Yevgeniy Reym added.

Each student works with App Academy’s financial department to customize a payment plan once they land a full-time job. Usually, students temporarily give the school a certain percentage of their income.

“We don’t think that the realm of software engineering should be held only by people who can afford to have that traditional four-year education experience,” Brian Crawford Scott, senior manager of App Academy NYC said.

The current U.S. student loan debt is a mind-boggling $1.5 trillion, with the average student owing $37,000, and many graduates not able to find jobs to pay it down.

“I think that the model that we have is filling a need in the world right now,” Scott added.

Coding careers are expected to grow by 13 percent through 2026 and it’s becoming so popular that many students are also taking classes online – like Lambda School.

“We have students hired at Google and Amazon and Microsoft,” Lambda CEO Austen Allred explained.

The school offers virtual classes free of charge until students land a job. Then they have to pay back 17 percent of their income for two years; capped at $30,000.

“You actually don’t have to pay us anything unless you’re making more than $50,000 a year in the field that we train you in otherwise, it’s completely free,” Allred added.

If you’re interested in joining one of these schools, keep in mind, many of the programs require full-time commitment because it’s a shorter timeframe until graduation.


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